Agenda item

Leeds Safe Roads Vision Zero 2040 Annual Progress Report

To receive a progress update from the Chief Officer (Transportation and Highways) on Leeds Safe Roads Vision Zero Strategy and the actions highlighted by the Scrutiny Board in April 2022.


The Chair introduced this item, noting the Scrutiny Board has had a long-standing interest in the numbers of those killed and seriously injured on Leeds roads.


As a minimum the Scrutiny Board receives updates twice a year on KSI figures as part of its performance monitoring. However, following the 2021/22 Scrutiny Board inquiry into the prevention of deaths andserious injuries on Leeds’ roads, members also committed to receive an annual update on progress towards Vision Zero.


For the benefit of any members of public viewing the webcast, the Chair noted the Vision Zero Strategy sets out the ambition that by 2040 no one is killed or seriously injured on the roads in Leeds. Members were asked to note that the report presented at the meeting also included specific updates on the recommendations made by the Scrutiny Board in April 2022.


The Chair reminded members that the previous Scrutiny Inquiry highlighted the importance of language when discussing deaths and injuries on Leeds roads – for example, avoiding the term “accident” to describe road traffic collisions.


Those in attendance for this item were:


·  Cllr Hayden – Executive Member

·  Gary Bartlett – Chief Officer, Transportation & Highways

·  Gillian Macleod – Transport Services Manager and Chair of the Leeds Safer Roads Partnership

·  Nick Hunt – Traffic Engineering Manager and Vice Chair of the Safer Roads Partnership

·  Rosie Revell – Team Leader – Safe and Sustainable Travel

·  Paul Jeffrey – Head of Department, Prosecutions & Casualty Prevention unit, WY Police

·  Supt Sareth Humpadge – Roads Policing Unit, West Yorkshire Police

·  CI James Farrah – Roads Policing Unit, West Yorkshire Police

·  Ian Greenwood – Parent Campaigner & member of the Vision Zero Board

·  Neil Hudson – Policy Manager Vision Zero, West Yorkshire Combined Authority


Cllr Hayden introduced the item, welcoming the comprehensive update report a year after the launch of Vision Zero. She noted that the current number of collisions in the city is high and reflects broader national trends post-pandemic. She reiterated the consequences for families of each collision and the Council’s commitment to reduce the number of collisions on Leeds roads.


Members welcomed the work of Nick Hunt and colleagues in West Yorkshire Safety Camera Partnership in securing a change in regulations that has allowed average speed safety cameras to be installed at locations in Leeds for the first time. Members were advised that these will be the first average speed schemes on the urban road network in West Yorkshire following the successful use of this technology on the motorway network.


Clarity was sought about the way in which average speed cameras operate.


Gary Bartlett informed the Scrutiny Board that on average 46 people a month are killed or seriously injured on roads in Leeds, rising to an average of 117 people a month across West Yorkshire. It was noted that the majority of young people kicked or seriously injured on the roads are male.  He outlined the way in which Vision Zero aims to deliver a partnership approach to improving road safety and influencing behaviour change amongst road users.


The Board noted that the Council may consider drug and drink testing for employees who drive around the city as this is already in place for contractors.


Neil Hudson was invited to update the Scrutiny Board on the timeframes for the development of the West Yorkshire Vision Zero strategy and the outcome of the recent public consultation on Vision Zero. Neil confirmed that the survey responses are currently being analysed. An event on 30 October will bring partners together to consider the response to the survey results.


Members noted the rich conversation at community committees about Vision Zero and thanked Rosie Revell for her work in facilitating this engagement.


The Board noted the “chilling effect” high numbers of ‘near misses’ can have on public confidence to walk and cycle on certain routes in the city. Concern was expressed about how data about ‘near misses’ could be captured to inform decision making about potential preventative interventions.


Citing the recent change to a 20mph default speed limit in Wales, members sought clarity about whether the available evidence confirms reduced limits do reduce average speeds. 


In response, Gary Bartlett informed members that careless driving rather than speed is the predominant cause of collisions, referring to the “fatal five” behaviours that lead to the majority of fatalities on the road.


Paul Jeffrey outlined the importance of the road conditions in influencing driver speeds and highlighted the ways in which signage and traffic calming can be used to create an environment that indicates a lower speed is appropriate for that area.


Board members discussed the purpose of local transport plans and the importance of personal responsibility for driving behaviours.


Nick Hunt reminded Board members that in 2018 Leeds City Council committed to make all residential streets 20mph with very few exceptions. This programme is due for completion at eh end of 2023 with Harewood the last ward to be completed. He also updated members on the current review of residential roads that seeks to identify roads where changes have not been implemented – for example, on new developments in areas where 20mph speeds had already been introduced on other residential streets.


Gillian MacLeod provided an over of the work of the Influencing Travel Behaviour Team including offers of road safety education, training and engagement. It was noted that work is underway to develop pedestrian training for adults with learning disabilities.


Members noted technological advances that can assist drivers in improving their own behaviour on the roads – such as adaptive cruise control and speed limiting new cars.


Concern was expressed about driving standards post-pandemic with the Board considering whether frustration had increased as traffic volumes increased once restrictions on movement were lifted.


Ian Greenwood emphasised the importance of data driven work to target interventions designed to prevent road deaths, noting there will be a variety of solutions to very different challenges. Influencing behaviour change remains the most difficult challenge in relation to road safety and continuing to highlight that challenge publicly is an important way in which to retain visibility of the issue.


It was agreed that treating road safety as a public health concern is the right approach for the city.


Ian reflected on the lived experience for families of losing a child to road death and the importance of listening to the victims of road death.   


Other matters raised by members included:


·  The outcome of a pilot on the A65 which allowed motorcyclists access to the bus lane.  

·  The new mobile SIDs available for community use.

·  The importance of reducing speed on roads near to schools and parks.

·  A pilot programme to investigate reducing the national speed limit to 50mph in some areas.

·  The potential impact of highway code changes on local KSI data.

·  Deployments as part of Operation SPARC.

·  Operation SNAP and the enforcements that have resulted from engagement by the public.

·  Police tactics for tackling anti-social behaviour by people using motor vehicles and electric bikes/scooters.   

·  Engagement with companies such as Deliveroo about riding behaviours in pedestrianised areas.


It was agreed that Cllr Marshall-Katung, Cllr Hayden and Ian Greenwood would jointly write to the Secretary of State for Transport and the Shadow Secretary of State for Transport regarding graduated driving licences, along with the Chair of the Transport Committee regarding a promised review of issues relating to young and novice drivers.




a)  Members noted the content and progress detailed in the report.

b)  The Scrutiny Board reiterated its support for the Vision Zero approach to road safety in Leeds.

c)  Members requested a further update in the next municipal year.

d)  The Scrutiny Chair, Executive Member and Ian Greenwood will write to the Secretary of State for Transport and the Shadow Secretary of State for Transport regarding graduated driving licences, along with the Chair of the Transport Committee regarding a promised 2022 review of matters relating to young and novice drivers.


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