Speed limits are usually introduced to contribute to improving road safety and should seek to balance this with accessibility and environmental objectives.
Speed limits are the maximum speed at which vehicles may legally travel – they are not target speeds. You should always drive to the prevailing highway conditions as directed within the highway code. Particularly when:
- The road layout presents hazards, such as bends
- You are sharing the road with pedestrians
- There are adverse weather conditions
- You’re driving at night as it is harder to see other road users and possible obstructions
Speed Limits in Urban Areas
Lower speeds benefit all users of urban roads, especially vulnerable road users. When determining the speed limit of a highway, Monmouthshire uses a road hierarchy approach which reflects the highways function, the mix of vehicular traffic that it carries and its use by vulnerable road users. Any new speed limits of modifications to existing limits are considered on a case-by-case basis.
Monmouthshire County Council encourages and supports 20mph speed limits and zones at appropriate locations.
40 mph speed limits may be used where the highway features provide suitable facilities to accommodate the movements of all road users who normally use that length of road. 40mph speed limits will tend to be located on generally higher quality suburban roads or those on the outskirts of towns and villages where there is limited development.
50mph speed limits can be implemented on urban dual carriageways, radial routes or bypasses where the road environment and characteristics are appropriate. Generally vulnerable road users will not use or seek to cross these routes.
Speed Limits in Rural Areas
The current national speed limit on rural single carriageway roads is 60mph and a limit of 70mph applies on rural dual carriageways. 40 and 50mph speed limits may be used where appropriate, and the speed limit in rural towns and villages is generally 30mph. Monmouthshire considers the speed limit in rural locations on a case-by-case basis, taking into account the Institution of Highways and Transportation’s Rural Safety Management Guidelines.
Speed limits set will be appropriate for the nature of the road and its use by all types of road user. Factors that are considered when determining the speed limit of a rural highway include:
- Its strategic importance
- If it has a local access or recreational function
- If it passes through or severs a local community
In addition, its geometry, the topography of the area and its use by vehicles and vulnerable road users will also be considered.