Ronnie Cohen, one of our regular contributors, comments on the introduction on 2 March of a 20mph speed limit on certain roads in London’s Congestion Charging Zone.
In the Metro newspaper published on Monday 2 March 2020 (Travel News section, page 39), Transport for London (TfL) announced a new 20mph speed limit had been be introduced on the roads it manages in the Congestion Charging zone. The article gave all speeds in miles per hour and all distances in kilometres. Apparently, TfL like many other organisations in the UK sees nothing unusual with mixing two measurement systems in the same article.
The new speed limit involves new signage, road markings, raised pedestrian crossings and re-calibrated speed cameras, publicity and advertising, a new speed enforcement team, new laser video technology and TfL co-operation with boroughs and the public. It is being rolled out across 8.9 km of roads in the Congestion Charging zone. Over the next five years, TfL is planning to introduce safer speed limits across another 140 km of London’s roads.
These measures are intended to make our roads safer and are part of the TfL Vision Zero commitment to eliminate deaths and serious injuries from London’s roads by 2041. Safety measures are to be welcomed. But the introduction of 20mph signs and road markings in recent years is surely a missed opportunity to introduce metric signs. If they had been metric, they would have cost no more than the current imperial versions.
Information on costs and funding did not feature prominently in the news about the CCZ 20mph limit (in contrast to the successive proposals for the conversion of the UK’s road traffic signs to metric measures). The question of whether there would be be extra funding for new signage, etc, or diversion of funds from other parts of the transport budget was left open, but there appeared to be an implicit assumption that the money would be there.
Covid-19 had not made an appearance at the time these plans were being prepared, and the economic consequences of the pandemic could not have been foreseen. We must hope TfL Vision Zero does not take as long to be implemented as the proposals for metric road signs – 50 years and counting!
As well as the printed Metro article, you can find the same story on line at the following links: