20 mph schemes in Bath £871,000 well spent?

Since 2011 BANES has spent £ 871,000 introducing 20 mph speed zones in Bath and wider BANES. There was no enforcement process built into any of these schemes, indeed the police complained at the time that they had not been consulted, and we expressed some doubts as whether without enforcement these zone would have any real effect.

Well the results are now available in a report to be considered on the 17th July by the Communities, Transport and Environment Policy Development Committee;

The study has found that,

a) Broadly speaking, speed reduction in line with national trends has been achieved, but in real terms the overall reduction in average speed is very small (1.3 mph) and thus is not persuasive in terms of the money spent on these schemes.

b) Some accident reduction has been observed in Bath, but accident increase, albeit slight, has been seen in outlying towns. Again, this mixed outcome seems to be reflected across the country.

c) Casualty severity has worsened marginally in Bath and more so in outlying towns. Again, this is reflective of the national situation for reasons which are not yet clear. A number of the schemes have not yet been in place for 3 years and thus the casualty picture might alter over the remaining months.

d) Overall, the speed limit programme in B&NES seems to have provided little in the way of persuasive argument for continuing the programme into the future.

e) Indeed, the rise in casualty numbers and severity as per the national trend (albeit with relatively small numbers in B&NES) would suggest against further expansion of area based schemes.

It seems our cynicism about likely value of these schemes was justified.