A Highways England (HE) study (1) into raising speed limits from 50mph to 55 or 60mph through motorway roadworks confirms the longstanding ABD position that sensible speed limits improve compliance and increase safety by reducing driver stress.
HGVs are a significant factor in the (negative) driver experience on motorways, particularly in roadworks, where fear was heightened due to the number, speed, size and inability to overtake in a 50mph limit.
60mph was preferred by drivers for the ability to pass HGVs safely.
60% of drivers experienced a decreased heart rate in the 60mph trial zone.
Heart rate (and therefore potentially stress) did not increase with the increased speed limit.
It was perceived that vehicles were more spaced out in a 60mph limit, traffic flow was improved and it was easier to maintain the speed limit.
Th 60mph limit improved customer satisfaction, HGV driver behaviour, journey times and speed limit compliance.
ABD Spokesman Paul Biggs said: “The results of the Highways England study, that has been used to justify the motorway speed limit through most roadworks being raised to 60 from 50mph, came as no surprise to the ABD. The effects of setting sensible speed limits rather than unreasonably lowered ones are all positive: improved traffic flow and journey times, less traffic bunching, more compliance, less driver stress, which inevitably improves safety. Therefore, anti-car campaigners who see lowered speed limits as a tool against car use risk making roads less safe.”
A more detailed look at the study can be found on the ABD website (2).
Notes for Editors:
(1) Highways England study of 50/55/60mph limits through motorway roadworks: https://s3.eu-west-2.amazonaws.com/assets.highwaysengland.co.uk/Knowledge+Compendium/55mph+%26+60mph+speed+trials+through+roadworks+summary+report.pdf
(2) ABD website article: Study: Reasonable Speed Limits Improve Compliance and Safety: https://www.abd.org.uk/study-reasonable-speed-limits-improve-compliance-and-safety/