The RAC Foundation (a UK organization dedicated to "protecting the interest of the motorist") warned that the idea of a town with a 20 mile per hour speed limit would grate many drivers, and they're right. But, the UK car supermarket group Motorpoint conducted a survey about the reduced limits and found that two in five British drivers - about 12 million people - would "welcome" a lowered speed limit in their town. We'll see if any of them move to Portsmouth to prove their point. In most American towns, after all, residential streets have 25 mph speed limits. There is a proposal from the Parliamentary Advisory Council for Transport Safety to make 20 mph the mandatory standard in all residential areas in Britain in order to reduce the number of people who are killed on British roads (currently 3,100 a year).
There is also a green angle to this. We know that neighborhood electric vehicles are not the fastest cars on the block. Forcing all in-city traffic to go 20 mph would mean that NEVs can hold their own, something that should help NEV adoption rates in the UK. Press release after the jump.
Millions of motorists ready to welcome 20mph city speed limits
Two in five British drivers – around 12 million people - would welcome a 20mph speed limit on their city's streets according to a survey by Motorpoint, the UK's leading car supermarket group, despite warnings from the RAC Foundation that drivers would not accept a blanket speed limit in towns and cities.
Portsmouth has just become the first authority to apply a citywide 20mph maximum after the proposal to cut the urban limit by a third featured in proposals to the Government from the Parliamentary Advisory Council for Transport Safety late last year.
Motorists could face a mandatory speed limit of 20mph in residential areas if the Government accepts the plan, aimed at reducing the annual death toll of 3,100 people on British roads.
Some 1,200 residential streets are currently included in the Portsmouth strategy, which is being closely monitored by other local authorities. Norwich City Council is said to be moving toward introducing a similar scheme.
Motorpoint managing director David Shelton said: "We know many of our customers are interested in road safety from the questions they ask about safety equipment such as electronic stability control on the cars they buy. And as the only car retailer in membership of RoadSafe, we are committed to delivering the road safety message at point of sale.
"Nevertheless, we were surprised at the extent to which people seem ready to accept a lower speed limit in residential areas, particularly when government TV advertising is still trying to persuade more people to abide by the 30mph limit."