Cycling has increased even on 20 mph main roads
Cycling has increased even on 20 mph main roads

20mph pilot in Bristol finds slower speeds and enthusiastic residents

A trial of two 20mph speed limit areas in Bristol has resulted in lower speeds, more reported walking and cycling and residents even more enthusiastic about lower speeds than they were at the start of the trial. Injuries, bus journey times and air quality have remained constant.

The two areas in the trial covered around 500 streets from the south and east of Bristol. The project aimed to test whether the success achieved in Portsmouth could be replicated on Bristol streets.

Their findings demonstrated that: "20mph limits, if introduced with careful community engagement, and underpinned by excellent communication and driver education, can help bring about shifts in choice of travel mode and support local aspirations." - 20mph Monitoring Report

Some of the headline findings are:

  • 65% of roads saw a reduction in mean speeds
  • 18 roads no longer saw average speeds above 24mph
  • The average reduction in mean average speed across roads in the southern area was 1.4mph, and eastern area was 0.9mph
  • The mean average speed across all roads has dropped to 23mph and under between 7am through to 7pm
  • Increase in counts for cycling range from 4% increase to 37% increase.
  • Pedal cycle casualties in the southern area have fallen by 3 in the sameperiod but remained constant in the eastern area
  • Pedestrian casualties have remained constant in both areas.
  • 89% of residents supported 20 mph on all residential streets
  • 56% of residents supported 20mph on ‘main’ roads

This is one of the first major studies to reveal the impact on people's cycling and walking as a result of reducing speeds. That's an important finding because it gives an even stronger argument that 20mph is good for health and the environment. The Bristol study has also revealed that support increased after implementation.

Chris Peck
Bristol 20 mph Monitoring Report2.59 MB