Speed limits

Speed limits are set by Highway Authorities to advise motorists of a maximum safe speed for a road. Speed limits must be evidence-led and self-explaining to encourage self-compliance and to ensure the efficient and safe movement of traffic.

Swindon’s speed limits are consistent with the guidance provided by the Department for Transport – ‘Setting Local Speed Limits’.

A number of key factors are considered when setting speed limits, including:

  • the injury accident record for the road
  • the type of road (classified/un-classified)
  • the alignment of the road
  • the composition of the road users, motorised and non-motorised
  • the degree of development adjacent to the road (residential, business or retail)
  • the number of junctions or private accesses along the road
  • existing traffic speeds

Consideration is also given to the impact on the local community and environmental outcomes.

Road features that assist drivers in adhering to the speed limit 

These may include:

  • vertical traffic calming (for example: speed cushions, raised tables)
  • horizontal traffic calming (for example: build-outs, road narrowing's)
  • speed limit repeater signs and road markings
  • vehicle activated speed limit repeater signs
  • community speed watch 

Speed limits are only likely to be reviewed when:

  • the Department for Transport guidance is altered
  • speed is significant factor contributing to a higher than expected road safety risk for road users
  • there is a change in the road environment (e.g. a new housing development or a new junction
  • vehicle speeds are found to be substantially different to the posted speed limit

If you feel a speed limit should be reviewed and think that the location meets the criteria above, then please contact your local Ward Councillor. Officers will review DfT guidance to test the appropriateness of alternative speed limits, review the injury accident record and commission traffic surveys to understand traffic speeds and composition. 

A decision will then be taken to determine the following:

  • whether a change in speed limit is appropriate
  • whether additional speed management features are required
  • or whether no change is necessary

If the decision is taken to make a change to the speed limit, this will require an amendment to the Traffic Regulation Order (TRO) which involves a statutory process. Please see the Traffic Regulation Orders webpage for further information.

Additional information

Drivers are reminded of the following:

  • The speed limit is the absolute maximum - it doesn't mean it's safe to drive at this speed in all conditions
  • A speed limit of 30 miles per hour (mph) usually applies, unless signs show otherwise
  • The presence of street lights indicates a 30mph speed limit unless signs show otherwise
  • 30mph repeater signs are not permitted where there is street lighting
  • Wiltshire Police undertake enforcement at known speed hotspots and in association with community Speed Watch sites
  • Fixed speed enforcement cameras no longer operate in Swindon
  • Other lower speeds may apply to certain types of vehicle. You must not drive faster than the speed limit for the type of road and your type of vehicle.

Further information about Highway Code speed limits at GOV.UK

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