Research & reports

Title: Evaluation of the National HGV Speed Limit Increase in England and Wales: Year 2 Interim Report

Organisation: DfT & AECOM
Date uploaded: 21st August 2019
Date published/launched: March 2019

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In April 2015 new national speed limits came into force for heavy goods vehicles (HGVs) over 7.5 tonnes on single carriageway and dual carriageway roads in England and Wales. The new limits are 50 mph (up from 40 mph) and 60 mph (up from 50 mph), respectively. In October 2015 the Department for Transport (DfT) commissioned a three year evaluation of the speed limit change with the primary aims of generating the evidence needed to support future policy decisions and validate the initial impact assessment for the increase.

This document is the second annual Interim Report, presenting the outputs of analysis covering approximately the first two years of operation of the new speed limits. The Year 2 work reported in this Interim Report is an impact evaluation of vehicle speeds and safety on roads affected by the policy change.

Speeds
Single Carriageways
The Year 2 impact evaluation has established that the average speed of HGVs >7.5t on 60 mph single carriageway roads has increased by 1.5 mph (44.1 to 45.6 mph) with analysis suggesting this is at least partially attributable to the policy change. Speeds of light vehicles have increased by 0.2 mph (47.9 to 48.1 mph) since the policy change. 17% of HGVs >7.5t exceeded the 50 mph speed limit for this vehicle type on 60 mph single carriageway roads (prior to the HGV speed limit increase this figure was 9%). The proportion of HGVs speeding has decreased by 68% (falling from 85% to 17%) since the policy change.

Dual Carriageways
The average speed of HGVs >7.5t on 2-lane 70 mph dual carriageway roads has increased by 0.4 mph (52.0 to 52.4 mph) and that this is at least partly attributable to the policy change. Speeds of light vehicles have increased by 0.2 mph (65.0 to 65.2 mph) since the policy change.6% of HGVs >7.5t exceeded the 60 mph speed limit for this vehicle type on 2-lane dual carriageway roads (prior to the HGV speed limit increase 5% of HGVs exceeded 60 mph). The proportion of HGVs speeding has decreased by 74% (falling from 81% to 6%) since the policy change.

Safety
Statistical modelling has been undertaken on safety data for all roads affected by the speed limit change. This is based on 10 years of ex-ante data and 21 months of ex-post data accumulated to date. The analysis finds there is a statistically significant reduction in collisions, though this is found to be a highly sensitive finding which should be treated as tentative until further data is available. For now, there is confidence that the outcome is non-negative.

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