20mph Survey Results

The Parish Council recently conducted a survey on creating 20mph speed limits within the parishes. This article will review the results and show how they have shaped the proposal sent to Council by the Parish Council. 

The survey had 491 unique responses. The 2021 census has 4,689 households for Histon and Impington. After accounting for responses outside the village and multiple responses from the same household this is approaching 1 in 10 households responding, which is excellent response rate for such a survey. It gives good confidence that the responses are representative.  

The initial questions were general demographic questions to assess the reach of the survey. Just under two-thirds of responses from Histon (32%), just under a third from Impington (64%). All the remaining responses are from nearby communities demonstrating that the survey was not hijacked by out of area responses. ‘Others’ collects all the communities with fewer than three responses, as these could identify individuals so must not be disclosed under GDPR. It is good to have responses from Cottenham as the B1049 connects – and bisects – both our communities. However, they are a very small proportion (1%). So, engagement with neighbouring communities should be worked on in future surveys. 

35-44 was the largest age group responding. Likely that this represent parents with children at the primary schools.  The bigger take away for the Parish Council is the low number for the younger age brackets. Engagement with these groups needs addressing. 

Improved road safety as a reason to support 20mph limits was agreed with by significant number of respondents; ‘safer for pedestrians’ with 82%, ‘safer for cycling’ on 79% and ‘fewer serious collisions’ at 64%. Supporting the village as a place to live also rated well; ‘makes streets more pleasant to live in’ with 61% and ‘means children can play more safely’ at 54%. Themes from the free text ‘Others’ that were missed included improved safety for wheelchair and mobility scooter users, reduced car wake during wet weather, fewer pet and wildlife deaths, and increased use of the high street. 

Concern around compliance and enforcement were the top reasons for opposition to 20mph limits; ‘might not be policed and enforced effectively’ at 52%, and ‘might be ignored’ with 48%. Impact on driving was also a concern for around a quarter of respondents; ‘would annoy drivers’ on  25% and ‘makes journey times longer’ at 23%. Themes from the free text ‘Others’ that were missed included waste of money for little effect, encourages pedestrians and cyclists to be more reckless, worse safety from additional distracting signs or pot hole creating speed bumps. 

The behaviour change question is very encouraging. Of those that responded to each category, more than half felt that 20mph would make them, or their family, take more trips by cycle (53%), more than a third said the same for walking (35%). There was a good boost to scooting too with 29% of respondents feeling they, or their family, would be more likely to scoot with the introduction of 20mph limits. This could be from younger members of families going to school on scooters, or an effect from the Voi electric scooter trial, briefly extending into the parish. A quarter (25%) of those who responded felt 20mph limits would make them less likely to drive, perhaps showing a shift to the other modes questioned. A near neutral response for horse riding – 5% less likely, 7% more likely – would be worth deeper investigation. Are there different measures the Parish Council should explore that would assist this group? 

The next question asked respondents to rate their position for adding 20mph to various areas of the Parish; into Strongly Oppose, Oppose, Neutral/Don’t Know, Support and Strongly Support. These are best discussed in two blocks; one for general areas, or specific streets within the villages and a second for an analysis of the B1049. 

Here the general areas have been sorted into order of support (Support plus Strongly Support). In all cases, there is more support for 20mph than opposition. Adjacent to schools is very clear; 89% support verses 7% opposed. The High Street is also clear-cut with 85% in support compared with 10% in opposition. Parish wide has the next highest level of absolute support, however it is also the most opposed (of this set excluding the B1049). Note that each area was optional; nearly every respondent (98%) gave an opinion for a Parish wide zone, while responses are lower for all other areas. The split comes out as 71% in favour and 21% opposed to the idea of a Parish wide 20mph zone.  77% for verses 13% against adding 20mph to our residential streets. 

Quickly for completeness 

  • Station Road/Cambridge Road 77% vs 16% 
  • Impington Lane 72% vs 17% 
  • New Road 73% vs 15% 
  • Cottenham Road 68% vs 20% 
  • Park Lane 68% vs 19% 
  • Milton Road/Burgoyne’s Road 63% vs 19%

For the B1049 the sections are kept in the same order as the original question – north to south through the Parishes. North of Park Primary School is the only section included in County Council’s proposal, likely due to the residential properties fronting directly onto the B1049. It seems residents agree with this position; 60% in support vs 24% opposed. With a large petition in 2022 calling for 20mph outside Park Primary School it is no surprise that this section has a high approval rate; 74% in support with 18% of those who responded opposed. The section past the Brook Primary School and the crossroad at the Green had both the greatest support and least opposition (79% vs 15%). This likely reflects the convergence of walking routes on the pedestrian crossings at this location. Continuing south from here support for 20mph steadily drops.  The Green south to the recreation ground is supported, but only just: 52% of respondents supported it, with 32% opposed. On the guided busway bridge and the approach to the A14 opposition to introduction of 20mph is greater than support (45% opposed vs 32% support on the bridge, 53% opposed vs 24% support for the Holiday Inn to A14). This neatly aligns with the section of the B1049 that currently has a 40mph speed limit. This section has wider lanes so does feel like a faster section of road. While reduction in the speed limit might still be desirable, this survey suggest that 20mph may be too far in these locations. 


Overall, this gave us confidence that the community was generally supportive of 20mph. Also that the initial plan drawn up by County Council was broadly correct. Amendments needed are along the B1049 and the east and west entrances to the Parish. 

On the B1049 we agreed with 20mph starting in line with the first houses. North of which we requested that the proposed 40mph buffer should be a 30mph buffer to manage the reduction in speed from the 50mph section better. With data showing poor adherence to the existing 30mph limit, unsurprising given the B1049 has not significantly changed from its initial 50mph design, we have requested additional engineering elements in this location to achieve the desired reduction in speed. The detailed design – whether speed bumps, road narrowing or road markings – will be left with county officers. However, we recommended build outs as this would offer drop-off parking for the Primary School.

We have requested 20mph to continue south past Orchard Road and Brook Primary School to the crossroads at the Green. Suggesting a new pedestrian crossing for Orchard Road into the Pages Close alley. We have also requested that the crossroad is included within the 20mph zone due to the number of pedestrian crossing and lack of width for cycle lanes through and near to this junction. South of the pedestrian crossing by Homefield Park/The Dole existing 30mph will be retained. 

We have requested that the 40mph section of the B1049 is reduced to 30mph reflecting the speed limit on Histon Road on the other side of the A14 roundabout.

On Milton Road we have requested extending the 20mph out to the existing traffic calming measures near St Andrews Way. This matches the extent of properties and can leverage the existing road features as an entrance to the reduced speed limit. 

To the west of the Parish, we have requested the 20mph zone extended to encompass the busway crossing of Gatehouse Road. This would address concern with vehicle collisions at this location and safety for users of the adjacent cycle and pedestrian route. We recommend a build out, or similar engineered method, to reduce the speed of vehicles approaching the village. This would match the arrangement already seen on the Milton Road approach to Impington. 

We would like to see the remainder of Gatehouse Road become 40mph, not just a buffer as proposed by County Council. This matches similar requests from Girton and Oakington Parish Councils for Oakington Road. 

It should be stressed that this is not set-in-stone, done-and-dusted plan for what will happen. This is the Parish Council’s response to the County Council proposal. County officers can disagree with our recommendations. There will undoubtedly be back and forth over details, discussion over funding and so on. Some elements may have to come from future funding pots, with delivery later on. Crucially, this was not your last opportunity to have a say and to shape the 20mph project. Any final plan will have to go through statutory consultation by the County Council before work starts. So, please watch this space for further developments.