Opinion Former Article

CIHT on Proposed Speed Limit Raise

The Transport Minister Phillip Hammond has announced that the Government will look to launch a consultation with the proposal to increase the motorway speed limit to 80mph by 2013.

CIHT believe that research does not show that an increase in the permitted speed will lead to the economic benefits outlined by the Government. The most effective way of improving journey times would be through a combination of an extension of the controlled and managed motorway programme and improvements to the infrastructure itself. Smoother traffic flows rather than direct capacity increases will bring benefits in terms of journey reliability and accident reduction in the medium term.

The mid to long term policy must be to develop plans to deal with increasing demand for road space. Increased capacity through making better use of the existing network by upgrades such as the managed motorway programme, improvements to the rail network and signalling, and small improvements to our airports can all deliver greater capacity at relatively low cost.

CIHT believes there is a need for improved inter-urban links both by road and rail and that it is essential to continue to invest in long-term infrastructure improvements to help support economic recovery. A 5% reduction in travel time for all business and freight travel on the roads alone could generate around £2.5 billion of cost savings.

Kate Carpenter, Chair of CIHT’s Road Safety Panel said:

“If this consultation is only aimed at appeasing drivers and seeing the motorway speed limit increase to 80mph, there would be no real benefit to the economy and would result in increased costs for drivers as overall fuel efficiency would be reduced. At higher speeds, sudden braking in reaction to events is more likely and stopping distances greatly increase. A higher speed limit and this increased braking both contribute to increased emissions with detrimental effects on local air quality and wider climate change.”

"Any increase in speeds without the proper investment in infrastructure improvements and associated enforcement would lead to an increase in the number and severity of road casualties. This further undermines any claim for an economic benefit because of the emergency services and medical costs involved and the loss to the economy from lost earnings that road traffic collisions cause.”

ENDS

Notes for Editors

Chartered Institution of Highways & Transportation

CIHT is a membership organisation representing over 12,000 people who work in the highways and transportation sector.

CIHT members plan, design, build, operate and maintain best-in-class transport systems and infrastructure, whilst respecting the imperatives of improving safety, ensuring economic competitiveness and minimising environmental impact.

CIHT supports its member’s professional endeavours by:
• offering training, information, professional development and support
• promoting the value added to society by the profession
• being the focused voice to Governments and other decision makers on transportation expertise and knowledge.

For more information please contact:

Daniel Isichei
Director of Communications

daniel.isichei@ciht.org.uk

t: +44(0)20 7336 1567
m: 07912 122573
www.ciht.org.uk

Chartered Institution of Highways & Transportation
119 Britannia Walk, London N1 7JE
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CIHT is a charity registered in England (1136896) and Scotland (SC040873)
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