We are proposing to reduce the speed limit on the Mancunian Way from 50mph to 30mph.
The proposed change is to help improve safety following a series of crashes; one which resulted in a fatality.
The section of the Mancunian Way (A57(M) and A635) between Downing Street and Egerton Street is currently under a Temporary Traffic Regulation Order (TTRO), reducing its speed from 50mph to 30mph.
This TTRO was put in place on the 3 November 2022 and will be in place until the 3 March 2024.
We propose to permanently reduce the speed limit to 30mph. The change is being made jointly with National Highways and the Department for Transport.
Before the speed limit was temporarily reduced, we performed a review of accident statistics for the previous five years. The review found that a reduction of the speed limit on Mancunian Way was needed to prevent and/or reduce the severity of accidents.
Mancunian Way first opened in 1967 and was not designed to carry the volumes of traffic it does today. Analysis of accident data shows that many accidents occur in areas where drivers are attempting to either join or leave the main carriageway, where weaving through short gaps of fast-moving traffic is required.
Review of the collision database prior to the change showed that in the last 5 years on record (May 2016 to May 2021), the Mancunian Way had 47 verified collisions, where people have been injured, resulting in a total of 58 casualties. These figures exclude the collision in January 2022 in which one person died and two others were seriously injured, according to reports by Greater Manchester Police.
Speed has an established link to collisions as it has a direct effect on reaction times: a distance of 15 metres is generally travelled when reacting at 50mph compared with a reaction within 9 metres travelled at 30mph. The overall stopping distance is calculated at 23 metres when travelling at 30mph. At 50mph, the stopping distance is 53 metres; more than double. This demonstrates there is a much greater chance of avoiding a collision when travelling at lower speeds.
A lowered speed limit is often perceived by many drivers as an increase in journey times. However, average road speeds in cities are more determined by the frequency of at-grade junctions (junctions where two or more roads converge, diverge, meet or cross at the same height) than speed limits.
A safer speed limit can achieve more uniform speeds and reduce dangerous midblock acceleration, while adding little to overall journey times. Research from Grenoble, France has shown that a speed limit of 30 kmph (18.64 mph) rather than 50 kmph (31 mph) only added 18 seconds of travel time between intersections 1 km (.62 miles) apart. Lower speed limits may even reduce congestion in some cases, as they reduce the likelihood of bottlenecks. This has been observed in Sao Paulo, where lowering the speed limit on major arterials reduced congestion by 10 percent during the first month of implementation, while fatalities also dropped significantly.
The section between Downing Street and Fairfield Street is to be reduced to 30mph from 40mph as part of a separate scheme, and will connect to existing 20mph or 30mph streets, making the whole area 30mph or below.
The overall aim of the scheme is to improve road safety and reduce the number of road traffic accidents that are occurring. In turn helping develop and sustain a healthy, safe and attractive local environment which contributes to the city and its people economic and social well-being.
The change will include the improvement of existing signage and additional signage to show and enforce the new reduced speed limit. Many signs that are being used for the TTRO are temporary signs and existing 50mph signs have been covered, these will all be replaced by permanent new and clear signage showing the new 30mph speed limit. The signs will also continue to show that the Mancunian Way is a motorway. Although the speed is being reduced to 30mph the road status, as a motorway, will remain- allowing motorway use vehicles only.