Speed management is an important aspect of improving road safety. Inappropriate speed creates problems for all road users especially vulnerable groups such as pedestrians and cyclists. Higher vehicle speeds result in the risk of fatal or serious injury should a collision occur. The Highway Authority (Caerphilly County Borough Council) works in partnership with Gwent Police to encourage appropriate vehicle speeds on roads in the County Borough.
The purpose of speed management is to manage vehicle speeds at levels that reflect the needs of all road users in harmony with the needs of communities and the environment. Slower speeds will result in a safer, more pleasant environment for those living in our towns and villages and will result in less severe injuries when accidents do occur.
The speed limits that are put in place along a road take into account the role and purpose of the road and consider the needs of all road users. An important aspect of assessing speed limits is the road traffic casualty record – where there is a history of road traffic collisions, reduced vehicle speeds will reduce the number of collisions and the severity of injury.
What is the council doing to reduce speeding?
The council has adopted a speed management strategy, which focuses on encouraging appropriate vehicle speeds that reflect the needs of communities and the environment. Speed limits determine the appropriate maximum speed for vehicles travelling along the highway. The speed management strategy sets down the course of action required if traffic exceeds the limit along a road.
Speeding can be an emotive issue. Working in partnership with the Wales Road Casualty Reduction Partnership, specialised data gathering equipment is located at sites of public concern. These small devices are placed on lighting poles and will accurately record traffic volume and vehicle speed throughout the day. They are normally left in position for one week.
The data obtained will indicate if the site requires further police enforcement intervention. A lower level of speeding might instigate a vehicle activated sign (VAS) campaign by the Highway Authority or Gwent Police. At sites where the average speed is above a specified threshold, the Casualty Reduction Partnership will arrange for a camera van to be deployed to enforce the limit.
Vehicle activated signs (VAS) signal to motorists when they exceed the speed limit. VAS are important in changing driver behaviour and are used in local communities where residents are concerned about speeding motorists and the level of speeding traffic would not instigate an enforcement campaign.
Where the speed of vehicles is much higher than appropriate and there is a history of personal injury collisions, other forms of speed control will be considered. These include changes in road design, such as road narrowing and road humps (speed cushions).
Lower speed limits of 20mph have been implemented in some areas that have higher levels of pedestrian activity, particularly areas around schools. These roads either have traffic calming or the speed of traffic is already within an acceptable range for a 20mph limit.