Making urban roads safer for pedestrians

29 Sep

Philip Hammond has explained today that he wants us to drive faster on motorways in order to create a ‘healthy economy‘, ‘generate hundreds of millions of pounds of economic benefit‘ and ‘put Britain back in the fast lane of global economies‘. This proposal was evidently resisted by the Health Secretary and the Energy Secretary for obvious reasons and the RAC Foundation estimates that driving 10 mph faster increases fuel use and CO2 emissions by more than 20%; the AA have reported that we are actually driving more slowly now in response to increased fuel costs. Hammond says it won’t increase road casualties – others disagree. I think this whole proposal is rather unhelpful and may well back-fire on the government. However…

My main interest here is on the needs of the pedestrian and Philip Hammond also promised a big expansion of 20 mph speed limit zones in urban areas where nearly all of the 403 pedestrian road fatalities, 5,000 serious injuries and 20,000 slight pedestrian injuries occurred during 2010; 42% of all road fatalities also occurred in urban areas. We need to continually remind people of the scale of the road safety problem in our country and press for these 20 mph limits in residential areas which have proved to be very effective.

Here are a couple of maps showing the scale of our road safety problem. The first map shows the locations of all pedestrian deaths (red dots), serious injuries (purple dots) and slight injuries (blue dots) on GB roads between 2000 and 2008; other road deaths and serious injuries are shown using lighter grey dots. The boundaries are parliamentary constituencies. Click on the map to enlarge.

GB pedestrian casualties 2000-2008

This second map shows all road fatalities (red), serious injuries (purple) and slight injuries (blue) for 2008 when 2,500 people died and 26,000 were seriously injured.

GB road casualties 2008

Since 2005 the United Nations has supported the inspiring World Remembrance Day for Road Traffic Victims which is an opportunity to reflect and remember those killed on our roads. It takes place this year on 20th November with services across the UK and all round the world. Why not ensure that a suitable remembrance service is held near where you live this year?

Mapping uses Stats19 police data and Ordnance Survey Boundary-Line data. Mapping created using ITO Map (pre-release version). Both maps available cc-by-sa 3.0.

2 Responses to “Making urban roads safer for pedestrians”

  1. Caroline Russell September 30, 2011 at 7:00 am #

    20mph should be the default limit on all roads where people live, shop and work. Living Streets and Sustrans are campaigning for 20mph limits on all main roads in London in the run-up to the mayoral elections next May under the #cityof20 banner. Most urban pedestrian deaths & serious injuries occur on MAIN roads not the quiet residential side roads. It should not be a common occurance for people to die or suffer life changing injuries while walking to school or the shops.

    • Colin Clarke May 19, 2012 at 6:31 pm #

      For pedestrians at an impact speed of 30 mph there is roughly a 38% chance of dying, at 25 mph the risk is about 16% and at 20 mph about 7%. The Uk should make more use of 25 mph zones along streets that are congested or narrow.

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