Increasing speed limits in roadworks

Background

We know that lower speed limits through roadworks can be frustrating for our customers, affecting the quality of their experience and overall satisfaction with their journeys. So, since 2017, we’ve been exploring whether we can safely increase speed limits through roadworks from the standard 50mph to 60mph.

The initiative

We piloted 60mph speed limits in eight road projects, using different speed management scenarios, with positive results. Drivers felt safer, and we noticed improvements to the flow of traffic, with less close following and better speed limit compliance. This showed us that increased speed limits in roadworks can deliver benefits for our customers, while maintaining safety for roadworkers.

Not every set of roadworks is suitable for higher speed limits, and our customers will still see 40mph and 50mph limits. But the pilots have allowed us to set a new standard which ensures the safety of our customers and roadworkers when 60mph is appropriate. .

Results

Since January 2019, we’ve implemented 60mph speed limits across ten road projects. That’s over 140km of roadworks on our network operating at 60mph. And this year we’re aiming to roll out the use of 60mph (or the highest safe speed) in at least 75% of our major motorway projects.

60 mph speed limit sign

Since increasing speed limits in roadworks, we’ve seen: 

  • Compliance with the speed limit was much higher for 60mph (90.5%) than 50mph (79.3%). 
  • A saving of 10 seconds per vehicle mile for 60mph speed limits compared to 50mph 
  • In total, drivers saved around 3,700 hours journey time each day during the trials 
  • Around 329,000 vehicles travelled safely through the trials daily 
  • An estimated economic saving of over £34 million across just two of the trial projects