A new report has been published looking at the first three months of Wales’s 20mph restricted speed limit on urban roads.

This follows an earlier report in the immediate aftermath of the speed limits’ introduction which revealed a 2.9 mph reduction in average speeds.

The new study finds an established an ongoing average speed drop of 2.4mph.

Putting the brakes on

Wales’s unprecedented reduction of speed limits from 30mph to 20mph on roads throughout the country was introduced in September of last year.

It sparked a surge in debates and deliberations among policymakers, road safety advocates, and the general public. Not only has it reshaped the landscape of Welsh roads but has also spurred a fundamental re-examination of attitudes towards speed, safety, and overall road conduct.

This latest analysis has shows that traffic speeds have fallen by 2.4mph since the introduction .

Carried out by Agilysis, the study analysed speeds on nearly 500km of roads in ten Welsh towns and cities. It covers the three-month period post-introduction on 17 September 2023.

Positive progress

Agilysis says the figures show that  there has been a small increase in speeds since the initial survey. However, compliance with the new 20mph limits is ‘generally good and shows a general acceptance of the new limit among drivers’.

Bangor experiencing the most significant reduction in average speeds (-3.2mph) and  Merthyr Tydfil displaying the smallest change (-1.3mph).

Just over half (52.9%) of all analysed journeys were driven above the 20mph speed limit, while 17.9% were driven above the enforcement threshold of 26mph.

Looking ahead

The Welsh Government recently confirmed the enforcement of 20mph speed limits will begin in January. This was to allow an initial adjustment period for the public.

A total of 5.4% of journeys in the study were driven at speeds above the threshold for a court summons.

According to Agilysis,  speed enforcement measures are key to the speed limits reductions success. Without the real deterrent on  facing legal penalties, greater compliance across the road network will fail. It could also see current levels of compliance drop.

At present the scheme is proving successful. It will be the casualty figures that give a better view of the schemes success, along with environmental studies on pollution levels in comparison to those before the change.