50 mph on Motorways?!?!?! - Jonathan
This is a clip from the telegraph breaking news section:

50mph speed limits planned for M-ways
(Filed: 19/11/2001)

SPEED limits of 50mph may be imposed on sections of some motorways under proposals said to be under consideration by the Government.

The measure is being examined by the Department of Transport, Local Government and the Regions (DTLR) in a bid to find a means of improving traffic flow on some of Britain's busiest routes. And at other sites the speed limit could be raised to 80mph to bring the country in line with Europe, the Daily Mail reports.

Motorways likely to see a reduction in speed limit include parts of the M25 possibly the northern section and its junction near Heathrow. The M6 through Birmingham, the M42 near Birmingham, parts of the M4, The M62 between Liverpool and Leeds and parts of the M8 between Glasgow and Edinburgh.

A DTLR spokesman said: "Traffic management is a major concern and reducing gridlock is a concern." He added that options for achieving less congestion were being looked at by the Government.

Edmund King, executive director of the RAC Foundation, told the newspaper he would not support the 50mph plan. He said: "We would not back permanent reduction on the motorway network because it is not required for such strong limits to be in place at all times of the day.

"It would be a very draconian measure."
Re: 50 mph on Motorways?!?!?! - Charles
How often can you do more than 50MPH on those stretches anyway during normal working hours?? I can't see it making a lot of diiference!
Having said that it does seem extreme and legislation not really going in the right direction (no pun intended).
Re: 50 mph on Motorways?!?!?! - ChrisR
Slower speeds do mean you can get more cars on the road in safety, and they do actually improve traffic flow because the effect of dramatic braking is reduced. A properly run variable limit would seem the answer. The M4 inside the M25 has a fixed 50 limit which is just not appropriate at quiet times of day (between 3 and 4am).

Re: 50 mph on Motorways?!?!?! - me
variable limit on the M25 is b**l***s

often very low limit is left on long after the accident/fog that caused it has gone, breeding disdain among drivers...

variable limits cannot work without good staff to run them (which they havnt got)
Re: 50 mph on Motorways?!?!?! - Ian Cook
Lowering the speed limit during times of conjestion strikes me as being a good traffic management strategy. I don't use the M25 much but when I do I'm not in the least bothered by being restricted to 50 or 60. If the traffic keeps flowing without shunts then it's been successful.

I'm sorry to see that the motorways forming parts of the "Bristol box" are not listed - unless that's what they mean by "parts of the M4". These parts of the M4 and M5 need some serious congestion management, as witnessed by the misery caused by several recent deaths (M5 in Somerset), when the motorways are subsequently closed for about 8 to 10 hours.

We have to accept that a motorway can only handle a certain volume of cars per hour (safely) if the gap between one car and the next is maintained at a reasonable level - and this means lowering the speed of the traffic.

Re: 50 mph on Motorways?!?!?! - Darcy Kitchin
Should do wonders for fuel consumption, leading to lost revenue for Mr Bown.
Re: 50 mph on Motorways?!?!?! - ladas are cool
this doesnt matter to me, as my lada can only do about 65 mph top speed.
Re: 50 mph on Motorways?!?!?! - Ian (cape town)
...and I bet you do it in the middle lane as well.
Re: 50 mph on Motorways?!?!?! - ladas are cool
no i am normally using the side of the road, because i have broken down ;-)
Re: 50 mph on Motorways?!?!?! - Martin
...'why don't we do it in the road.....no one will be watching us.... why don't we do it in the road...
(singing along).
(Sorry, I know I'm a sad git.)
Re: 50 mph on Motorways?!?!?! - Brian
My wife usedto get well over that out of hers!
Re: 50 mph on Motorways?!?!?! - ladas are cool
but i only have a 1300 engine in mine, i once managed to get it to 95 mph, but that was down hill.
Re: 50 mph on Motorways?!?!?! - Brian
"A properly run variable limit would seem to be the answer."
Agreed, but what are the chances of that?
Ideally, all speed limits need to be tailored to the conditions, i.e. traffic density, time of day, weather conditions, etc.. Thus a motorway limit could be as low as 30 or 40mph in a lashing gale or with ice around, and upped to 100 mph at 3am on a dry summers night.
I can't see controllers doing much else other than "playing safe", slapping on 40 and leaving it there 24/24.
Re: 50 mph on Motorways?!?!?! - Andy P
Isn't there somewhere which uses overhead gantries with speed cameras (not the type used to catch speeding motorists) to automatically adjust the speed limit?

Re: 50 mph on Motorways?!?!?! - Alwyn
If the fools would just trust the driver and let them decide how fast to drive according to the conditions. The vast majority are responsible people.

This is where the 85th percentile rule used by highways engineers comes from.

This from Washington State Highways Dept. please look under FAQ.

Rules Of the Road

There are specific laws that regulate the way vehicles may use the
public roadways, and a number of associated regulations, policies,
and standards that provide guidance about traffic control device
placement and other procedures.
RCW Chapter 46.61 provides the basic state laws that regulate the
operation of vehicles on public roadways.
Department Regulations

The State Traffic Engineer's Office is responsible for maintaining
specific chapters of the Washington Administrative Code (WAC) that
pertain to traffic control devices (see WAC 468-95), motorist
information signs (see WAC 468-70), outdoor advertising control
(see WAC 468-66), and transit vehicle stop zones (see WAC 468-66).
This office is also responsible for approving traffic regulations on
state highways, including the following: speed limits, bicycle
prohibitions, truck restrictions, HOV lane designations, angle parking
on state and Federal-Aid highways, and parking restrictions for
park-&-ride lots and other parking facilities.

The Regional Administrators are responsible for approving the other
traffic regulations, including the following: permits for traffic
signal installation, reduced regulatory speed limits in work zones,
regulatory speed limits in rest areas, stop control on state
highways, turn prohibitions, pedestrian prohibitions on partial
access controlled highways, roadside parking restrictions, and
prohibitions on fishing from bridges.

The Manual on Uniform Traffic Control Devices (MUTCD)
provides the uniform standards for the application of traffic
control devices for public roadways in Washington. It has
been adopted by the Department as Chapter 468-95 of the
Washington Administrative Code (WAC), as directed by state
law in RCW 47.36.030.
Traffic Manual

The Traffic Manual, M 51-02, is used in conjunction
with the Manual on Uniform Traffic Control Devices (MUTCD) by
providing department personnel with interpretive guidance to assure
uniform statewide application of traffic control devices for
traffic operations and design.

Frequently Asked Questions:

How can I get a speed limit changed?

How Speed Limits Are Set

The setting of speed limits on streets and highways is a technical
science backed by many years of research and experience on what
works and doesn't work for the safety and benefit of drivers. We
at the Washington State Department of Transportation are often
approached by citizens who feel that a change in the posted speed
limit is the answer to a safety problem on a specific highway.
Safety is the highest concern in any project we undertake, however
changing the posted speed limit is not always the answer.

If safety isn't behind it, what is the purpose of having speed limits?

Safety is always a factor, but the setting of speed limits is, for
completely practical reasons, more fundamentally influenced by some
basic principles of human behavior. When setting speed zones,
traffic engineers base decisions on several fundamental concepts
proven over the years to be true:

The majority of motorists drive in a safe and reasonable manner.

The normally careful and competent actions of a reasonable person
should be considered legal.

Laws are established for the protection of the public and the regulation
of unreasonable behavior of a few individuals.

Laws cannot be effectively enforced without the consent and voluntary
compliance of the majority.

Research and experience have shown that effective speed limits are
those that the majority of motorists naturally drive, and that
raising and lowering the speed limits doesn't substantially
influence that speed.

But, if you lower the speed limit, people drive slower. Right?

The answer is no, just as people don't automatically drive faster
when the speed limit is raised. These are common misconceptions,
along with the mistaken belief that speed limit signs will
decrease the accident rate and increase safety, and highways with
posted speed limits are safer than unposted highways.

Most people are surprised to learn that the posted speed limits
have less influence on the speed motorists travel than on the

You mean motorists influence the speed limit?

Yes, because speed limits that reflect the behavior of the majority
-- keeping in mind that the majority drive in a safe and
reasonable manner -- are more likely to be obeyed.

Speed limits that reflect the behavior of the majority are
determined by what engineers call the "85th percentile speed",
or the speed that 85 out of 100 cars travel at or below. This
method is based on the principle that reasonable drivers will
consider road conditions when selecting their speed of travel.

Studies have consistently demonstrated that there are no
significant changes in the 85th percentile speed following the
posting of revised speed limits.

What if the majority is driving too fast?

What's actually more dangerous is when motorists are traveling at
varying speeds. With speed limits set at the 85th percentile speed,
the speed differential -- or range of travel speeds -- is reduced
so that more vehicles are traveling at near the same speed, with
fewer vehicles traveling at extremely high or low speeds.

Statistics show that roadways with speed limits set at the 85th
percentile speed have fewer accidents than roads where the posted
speed limit is above or below what the majority naturally travels.

What do you mean by "realistic" speed laws?

Realistic speed laws are desirable for a number of reasons:

They invite the public compliance by conforming to the behavior of
the majority and by giving a clear reminder to the non-conforming

They offer an effective enforcement tool to the police by clearly
separating the occasional violator from the reasonable majority.

They tend to minimize antagonism toward police enforcement of
unreasonable regulations.

They inject an element of logic and reason into an otherwise
arbitrary and often emotional issue.

What is the law regarding speeding in Washington State?

All 50 states have adopted a basic speed law which recognizes that
driving conditions vary widely from time to time and place to place.
No set of fixed driving rules will adequately serve all conditions.
Motorists must constantly adjust their driving behavior to fit the
conditions they meet.

Individuals need to learn this with a minimum of assistance from
the police. The basic speed law is founded on the belief that
most motorists are able to modify their driving behavior properly
as long as they are aware of the conditions around them.
If I think the posted speed limit on a particular highway is wrong, what can be done about it?

Contact the appropriate public agency, the Washington State
Department of Transportation regarding state highways, or your
city or county public works department regarding city or county

They will conduct engineering and traffic studies necessary for
establishment of speed zones, including prevailing speed studies,
accident history investigations, and investigation of highway, traffic,
and roadside conditions not readily apparent to the driver.

The solution is not to post a speed zone to an unjustifiably low
speed and then expect law enforcement to control the violators by
constant monitoring. Police agencies do not, and indeed can not
afford to lie in wait constantly for speeders in a multitude of
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Re: 50 mph on Motorways?!?!?! - Andy
More anti-car tosh through the back door, dressed up as a 'benefit for traffic flow'.
If the government really wanted better flow, they would spend some of the £40Billion per year that we pay in motoring taxes on upgrading our roads. Instead, they bung on 50mph limits and pretend it's for our own good!
This government has, since 1997, slowly but surely waged war on the motorist. How much longer are we going to take it?
Re: 50 mph on Motorways?!?!?! - john woollard
Back in the early eighties I was commuting almost daily between Henly and Huntingdon. As the M25 came into use it was obvious that the safest and most progressive bit of road was the slow lane. It progressed at a stately 40 - 50 mph. while traffic in the other two lanes swapped about with much braking and acceleration, frequently coming to a standstill.
Last Friday evening I came up the A1M in the busy time and was daft enough to get stuck in the 'fast' lane with its stops and starts while the inside lane traffic forged steadily ahead. I am quite sure that a 50mph. limit would speed up the flow and add to safety.
One potential problem, though. In the early '70s a petrol shortage led to a general speed limit of 50mph. imposed on all roads including motorways. That was when I first observed road rage, due to bunches of traffic having their speedometers variously reading 49, 50, and 51 mph. while they sailed along at the same rate.
Re: 50 mph on Motorways?!?!?! - Alwyn
Has anyone seen 4 posts which seem to have gone missing from the forum?
Re: 50 mph on Motorways?!?!?! - Jonathan
Which ones?
Re: 50 mph on Motorways?!?!?! - T lucas
Much lower limits are coming,with very strict enforcement,get used to it.
Re: 50 mph on Motorways?!?!?! - steve paterson
Re: 50 mph on Motorways?!?!?! - Tomo
Drop dead, somebody!
Re: 50 mph on Motorways?!?!?! - Tomo
There is a flaw here. Lower the limit until it tends to zero, clearly so does the traffic flow.
Re: 50 mph on Motorways?!?!?! - Martin
Why not go further and adopt the German system of speed limits. For example (ignoring the Northern German states where Green parties have forced blanket limits), limits close to housing, limits when it rains or at known danger spots and cameras to check when drivers tailgate other drivers.
But when the weather and other conditions allow - no speed limit!
I have long argued that the M25 deserves a 70 mph limit - but what about the safer, less busy motorways -such as the M6 north of Lancaster? The M40 on a good day between Wycombe and the M42. The M50 or the M20 anytime other than peak time? Most of the M74? The A1 just next to the Metro centre (joking!)?
We are just as intelligent as the Germans (yes, really), so why can't we handle different speed limits around our motorways?!
Re: 50 mph on Motorways?!?!?! - ladas are cool
what do you mean 70mph on the m25, you never go faster then 30 anytime i am on it. (i use the m25 quite a lot, because i visit relatives)
Re: 50 mph on Motorways?!?!?! - richard turpin
It's time for the planks. Point them downhill, and everybody would be doing the same speed, except for the odd broken down Lada on the hard shoulder of course! No seriously, we are lucky. You can still drive normally where there are no cameras, after all.
PS: HGVs by rail for long distance. PLEASE.
Re: 50 mph on Motorways?!?!?! - ChrisR
richard turpin wrote:

> PS: HGVs by rail for long distance. PLEASE.

And why not for cars too? Some kind of channel tunnel type shuttle train would be good. You drive your car on, then go and sit in a passenger lounge upstairs and have lunch, do some work, stare out the window, while the train does 100mph. Then when you get where you want to go, you drive it off and hey presto: you have a car for the tricky local stuff.

No, forgive me, I've gone mad. That would cost money, raise taxes etc etc.

Re: 20 mph in towns - Honest John
Some dipstick was on the radio this morning advocating 20mph speed limits everywhere in towns. See the news at www.honestjohn.co.uk for a nicely written e-mail about the scourge of the anti-speed brigade.

Re: 20 mph in towns - Brian
I have looked at Motorail for long journeys in the past and. apart from the fact that the starting point was somewhere almost impossible to get to by road, like Earls Court, the cost was horrendous. The same applied when I looked into going down to Bordeaux by the same method, if I recall correctly it was in the region of £600.
But, on a logistics point, even if it were feasible to run two trains an hour between (say) London and Edinburgh with a couple of stops on the way, with 100 vehicles on each train, it would make a very, very small dent in the total traffic.
Re: 20 mph in towns - ChrisR
No Brian, I wasn't talking about motorail. The channel tunnel trains take thousands of cars, trucks and buses through the tunnel every day. You drive yourself onto the train, then sit in your car until journey's end. It takes less than half an hour to load up. Each destination could have its own section of the train to prevent snarl-ups. A long-distance version of that would be feasible I think, if the money was available. Our railway lines (not the tracks but the actual track bed, bridges etc.) would need widening, but the trains could run from suitably modified railway stations. It's a nice idea, but as I said, no way the govt. could raise the money.

Re: 20 mph in towns - Jonathan
Someone managed to do it, how else did the railway system come into existance?

Re: 20 mph in towns - Brian
The railway system came into existence by private capital when the only competition was horses and canals.
Naturally, railways were faster, and probably cheaper.
Nowdays, railways are only the fastest means of transport from city centre to city centre, and then only for passenger traffic, and certainly not cheaper.
Here endeth the history lesson!
Re: 20 mph in towns - crazed idiot
cheaper than what ?

i think you'll find the railways are uncompetitve versus air on the whole

as the day time services are cr**

scotrail sleepers are great but only if they serve the journey u need

Value my car