According to sample data, most drivers in Wales are still adhering to the recently implemented 20mph speed limit on various roads. However, there has been a minor “rebound” in speeds after the initial data indicated a significant reduction in speed following the introduction of the new default limit.
Independent transportation consultants Agilysis revisited two sample routes in Cardiff and Wrexham a month after the limit change. They observed a 2.3mph decrease in speeds, which was less pronounced than the initial 3.1mph drop recorded during the first week after the limit change.
The analysis was based on TomTom data, covering around 10,000 vehicle movements on B4487 Newport Road in Cardiff and A5152 Chester Road in Wrexham. This was compared to a considerably larger sample of nearly 30 million vehicle movements in Wales during the week immediately following the implementation of the new limit on September 17th.
The data also showed that the speeds of the fastest drivers, representing the top 15%, initially dropped by 4.9mph, but this reduction had lessened to 3.8mph in the subsequent week. The initial research had compared speeds before and after the introduction of the new limit.
Official data regarding vehicle speeds is anticipated to be available no earlier than spring 2024, while updated information from pilot areas is expected later this year.
The change in policy has encountered resistance, with the Welsh Conservatives expressing their support for a 20mph limit around schools, hospitals, and care homes but criticizing the comprehensive implementation as “disastrous, frankly ludicrous, and an affront to motorists.”
The Welsh government maintains that the effect on journey times will be minimal. Their stance has garnered support from a range of organisations, including Friends of the Earth Cymru, Action for Children, and Sustrans Cymru.