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20mph Residents' Requests

  • Where: Various according to community requests (subject to prioritisation)
  • When: October 2021 - January 2022
  • What: A new process to allow communities to request 20mph zones
  • Why: To make residential areas in the city safer and more child-friendly

Project details

Southampton City Council is committed to ensuring the city’s streets are safe for everyone who uses them. Our Corporate Plan and Connected Southampton 2040 Local Transport Plan set out our objectives to make Southampton a place where people can easily and safely get around; and continue to reduce casualties from transport collisions towards zero, focusing on the safety of children and people walking and cycling. The council has recently committed funding to consider implementing 20mph limits in residential areas of the city where feasible and where there is strong community support.

Why 20mph

Human error is a factor in 95% of all road traffic collisions. Driving at 20mph is a more forgiving speed when people make mistakes, as the consequence of those mistakes is less severe, the lower the speed of the collision. Even if a 20mph limit does not bring speeds down to 20mph or lower, there is evidence that speeds do fall overall, and every 1mph drop in speed can significantly reduce the severity of a collision. The Royal Society for the Prevention of Accidents (ROSPA) has put together a useful 20mph factsheet, explaining the need for lower speeds to bring down casualty rates, and the evidence behind 20mph zones/limits in reducing vehicle speeds. National policy guidance is also clear that vehicle speeds should be below 20mph on quieter routes to create safe and comfortable streets for walking and cycling. 

Southampton is seeking to become a recognised UNICEF ‘Child Friendly City’ by 2025. Evidence shows that children's reaction times are slower than adults' in perceiving gaps in fast moving traffic. The UN’s ‘Streets for Life’ campaign and World Health Organisation call for 20mph in all areas where people and traffic mix to promote child friendly streets and reduce child casualty rates.

Studies have also shown that the use of 20mph speed limits will specifically assist other vulnerable road user groups, including people with disabilities and elderly pedestrians. This is of vital importance in reducing the risk of severe injury and helping to maintain independent mobility. 

Where

Southampton already has approximately 34 miles of 20mph limits on certain residential streets and in the city centre. To change the speed limit on all residential streets in Southampton would be a complex and costly exercise due to the cost of signage and legally required consultation involved. However, the council is committed to empowering communities to come forward with requests for 20mph limits in their local areas. 

In addition to this, the council has already secured government grants through the ‘Active Travel Fund’ and ‘Transforming Cities Fund’ for new Active Travel Zones in the city. These zones will include 20mph limits and physical speed reduction measures. You can find out more about these schemes on the Active Travel Fund  and Transforming Cities Fund webpages.

When

People can submit requests using the 20mph Request Form, from October 2021, with a closing date for submissions on 4 January 2022.

How to submit requests

If you are submitting a request you must have evidence of community support. This can be through a recognised Residents' Association request, or a request from a representative sample of residents in the area you live with a supporting list of signatories. Requests can also demonstrate support from a Ward Councillor representing the area. Requests can also be received from Ward Councillors themselves, demonstrating residents' support in their area.

If you need to gather support from your community, you can do so using this template. When completing the request form, you will be able to upload your supporting documentation. SCC e-petitions will be considered in line with the councils e-petition policy. However, given that anyone is eligible to sign an e-petition, these do make it more difficult for us to ascertain and evidence how local the demand is for the requested changes. We recommend using the template provided as this provides a clearer demonstration of support from the local community and will greatly enhance the strength of any submissions received.

More detailed information about the council’s handling of your personal data can be found in the privacy policy online.

What happens next

After the closing date, each request will be reviewed to determine which areas can proceed to the formal design stage for implementing a 20mph limit. We will determine which areas to prioritise based on evidence of community support, the streets proposed and the feasibility of introducing the measures within the specified area.

All the supporting documents will be reviewed as part of the prioritisation process when determining which areas to proceed with for 20mph limit scheme design and the legally required consultation. There is limited funding available so some requests may not proceed immediately but will form part of a future pipeline of schemes.

Once you submit a request, you will receive an acknowledgment of submission. We will respond to your request once this has been fully reviewed, detailing the outcome of your request and the next steps. More information on the process and next steps are set out here and in our FAQs.

Submit 20mph requests here