Nearly 80 per cent of people think 20mph speed limits should be the norm around schools, in residential streets and in village, town and city centres, according to a survey.
More than four in five people think traffic travels too fast on local roads, the poll by road safety charity Brake and Allianz Insurance found.
Of the 1,000 people surveyed, 78 per cent backed the campaign run by Brake for 20mph zones such as those already in Portsmouth to be extended across the country.
The charity said that 72 per cent of those surveyed felt roads in their town or village need to be made safer for walking.
The survey results come as Brake today takes its GO 20 campaign to Parliament, calling on MPs to support the introduction of 20mph as the default urban speed limit.
Brake said that areas where 20mph limits have been introduced have seen casualty rates fall, with Portsmouth recording a 22 per cent dip in casualties and Camden in north London seeing crashes reduce by 54 per cent.
Other areas where 20mph limits have been imposed include the City of London, Birmingham, Newcastle upon Tyne and Edinburgh.
Brake deputy chief executive Julie Townsend said: “The GO 20 campaign is about defending everyone’s right to walk and cycle freely without being endangered, whether it’s to get to work, school, the shops, or just getting out and being active.
“We need to tackle the senseless and violent casualties that continue to happen daily on our roads, and we need to enable people to live healthy, active, social lives. It’s clear that 20mph limits in communities can help bring this about - and it’s clear this is what people want. “
Allianz Insurance chief executive Jon Dye said: “Public opinion is overwhelmingly in favour of reducing the urban speed limit to 20mph and this should act as a powerful force for change.”
A Department for Transport spokeswoman said: “Setting speed limits on local roads is a matter for local authorities but this Government has published new guidance to make it easier for councils to introduce 20mph zones.
“Research shows that having 20mph limits on certain roads can save lives and we must do all we can to prevent road casualties.”