Free flow speeds statistics

Free flow vehicle speeds statistics information.

These statistics relate to free flow vehicle speeds on British roads. Free flow vehicle speeds provide information on the speeds at which drivers choose to travel and their compliance with speed limits, but should not be taken as estimates of actual average speed across the road network.

An index sheet of all the free flow speeds statistical tables is available:

Average speed statistics are available from the road congestion and reliability statistics series.

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Road traffic and free flow speeds statistics enquiries

Technical information

Free flow speed statistics are produced by monitored traffic speeds at about 100 sites using automatic traffic counters (ATC), deliberately located where external factors which might restrict driver behaviour are not present.

Statistics are presented by different road types and by different vehicle types. The term ‘built-up’ is used to describe roads on which a 40 miles per hour or lower limit applies; the term ‘non-built-up’ describes all other roads.

National administrations in England, Scotland and Wales are responsible for setting speed limits on motorways and trunk ‘A’ roads. Local authorities have the power to impose or vary speed limits on principal roads and on all other local roads. Details of speed limits by vehicle for different road categories can be found below.

Further technical information on the free flow speeds:

Road traffic, speeds and congestion statistics guidance

User feedback

We continuously review the content of these statistics to ensure they are meeting users’ needs. A summary of the feedback we have received from users is available in:

Meeting customers’ needs: Users and uses of road traffic statistics and data

We continue to welcome any feedback on these statistics. Feedback may be given via the contact details provided.

National statistics

All of the statistics published in this series are National Statistics. Free flow speeds statistics was assessed by the UK Statistics Authority and confirmed as National Statistics in February 2013.

Assessment report
Letter of confirmation

Pre-release access list

The post holders given access to these statistics up to 24 hours prior to release are available in the pre-release access list.

Pre-release access lists for road traffic, speeds and congestion series

See all statistics published by DfT

Publications released during 2014

  1. Free flow vehicle speeds in Great Britain: 2013

    • 5 June 2014
    • Statistics - national statistics

Publications released during 2013

  1. Free flow vehicle speeds in Great Britain: 2012

    • 27 June 2013
    • Statistics - national statistics

Publications released during 2012

  1. Free flow vehicle speeds in Great Britain: 2011

    • 28 June 2012
    • Statistics - national statistics

Data tables associated with this series

  1. Free flow speeds: Statistical tables index

    • 22 January 2013
    • Statistical data set
  2. Vehicle free-flow speeds (SPE01)

    • 5 June 2014
    • Statistical data set