Why we are doing this

A special working group was set up by Devon County Council to review its approach to setting speed limits across Devon.

A report was published and they made a recommendation to DCC’s cabinet to carry out a study into the potential benefits of 20mph limits in our communities. Cabinet agreed that this should take place in Newton Abbot.

Generally, 20mph schemes have been found to have had the following benefit and results:

  • A pedestrian hit by a vehicle travelling at 30mph is five times more likely to be killed than if they were hit at 20mph.​
  • The number of injury collisions can be reduced by as much as 25% per cent because drivers travelling at lower speeds have more time to react.​
  • Lowering the speed limit to 20 mph brings down the speeds of the fastest drivers by up to 10 mph.​
  • A reduction in average speeds of even 1 mph will reduce the number of injury collisions by up to 6 per cent.​
  • Slower traffic speeds can make walking and cycling safer and more enjoyable, and encourages more people, particularly younger or those less experienced or confident, to take up walking and cycling for shorter journeys.
  • Slower traffic gives a sense of safer streets and cleaner air which encourages more people to walk through the town, visit local shops, and re-connect with society.​

Every community is different and it is accepted that a solution for one community may not be appropriate for another.

However, it is hoped a speed reduction scheme tailored specifically for Newton Abbot would:

  • reduce speeds and congestion
  • encourage more people taking short, local journeys to leave their car at home and to walk or cycle
  • improve air quality and lessen pollution
  • see fewer and less serious collisions
  • improve safety and give people more confidence to walk or cycle
  • lead to health benefits through cycling and walking

Studies have shown community-wide 20mph schemes have been successful across the UK. Examples include the schemes in Portsmouth, Brighton, and Bristol.

In Bristol, for instance, 94 per cent of roads saw a reduction in traffic speed, with average speeds across all roads dropping to 23mph. (Source: Bristol Twenty Miles Per Hour Limit Evaluation study published by the University of the West of England).

As a result, road safety in Bristol has improved and the number of fatal, serious, and slight injuries on the roads has fallen.

More people are also walking and cycling instead of driving.