HC Deb 21 March 1994 vol 240 cc4-5
4. Mr. Legg

To ask the Secretary of State for Transport what evidence he has that traffic calming schemes have reduced accidents in urban areas.

The Minister for Roads and Traffic (Mr. Robert Key)

Preliminary research indications are that traffic calming reduces accidents by an average of 70 per cent. There have also been small reductions on surrounding roads. Such measures seem to be especially effective in reducing accidents to child pedestrians and child cyclists.

Mr. Legg

I am grateful to my hon. Friend for that response. Has he any idea what the effect on road accidents would be if motorists in built-up areas voluntarily reduced their speed below 30 mph?

Mr. Key

If average speeds were voluntarily reduced below about 20 mph in appropriate residential streets, it is likely that we would save some 500 lives a year.

Mr. Bennett

Does the Minister accept that, although traffic calming measures have been extremely successful—certainly in Tameside and Stockport in my constituency—the key is to reduce the number of cars on the road? Does he accept that, particularly in Greater Manchester, the decision to take staff off the stations has frightened a large number of passengers away from those stations? Would not it be far better to ensure that public transport was effective in the area?

Mr. Key

Public transport already receives 40 per cent. of the Department's budget for only 10 per cent. of the journeys, and the massive investment in the Manchester metro has been widely welcomed. More significant than the number of cars on the road is the number of journeys that they make. That is something which local authorities have the power to influence through the traffic calming schemes that have been described.