Twenty limit ‘cuts av­er­age car speed by just 1.3mph’

●New study raises ques­tions over the im­pact of £3m Ed­in­burgh-wide scheme

The Scotsman - - FRONT PAGE - By DAVID BOL

Trans­port chiefs have been crit­i­cised af­ter a £3 mil­lion drive to roll out 20mph lim­its across Ed­in­burgh has only led to re­duc­ing speeds of mo­torists by 1.3mph.

Eval­u­a­tion of the 20mph speed limit roll-out, to be con­sid­ered by the city coun­cil’s trans­port and en­vi­ron­ment com­mit­tee on Fri­day, has as­sessed the im­pact of the limit re­duc­tion on speeds, road traf­fic col­li­sions and pub­lic at­ti­tudes. But the find­ings have re­vealed that mon­i­tor­ing of the 66 sites sur­veyed showed speeds drop­ping by an av­er­age of 1.34mph and the big­gest drop in one area was 2.1mph.

The seven-day av­er­age speed dropped from 23.63 mph to 22.29 mph af­ter the im­ple­men­ta­tion of the 20mph project. Of­fi­cials say ca­su­al­ties have “fallen sub­stan­tially” since the 20mph was rolled out but “it is not yet pos­si­ble to as­cribe re­duc­tions to the 20mph limit as op­posed to an over­all fall­ing trend”.

Re­search has found that even a 1 per cent re­duc­tion in speed can lead to a 6 per cent drop in road col­li­sions.

The find­ings also show that 40 per

cent of peo­ple in the city said they had not seen any in­for­ma­tion about the 20mph roll-out, only one in five peo­ple be­lieve traf­fic speeds have ac­tu­ally re­duced in their area – while po­lice have is­sued fewer than 100 fines in the three years since the roll out of the project be­gan.

Lib­eral Demo­crat trans­port spokesman Coun­cil­lor Kevin Lang said: “It is clear this 20mph project is still strug­gling to get out of first gear.

“Af­ter soak­ing up al­most £3 mil­lion of pub­lic money, av­er­age speeds have fallen by just 1.34 miles per hour. Only a fifth of peo­ple say traf­fic speeds have re­duced in their area.”

He added: “It is ob­vi­ous that SNP and Labour coun­cil­lors have botched what should have been a pos­i­tive and trans­for­ma­tive project.

“Their ma­jor ad­ver­tis­ing cam­paign failed to con­nect with the pub­lic.

They re­lied on card­board cut-outs of po­lice on street cor­ners to change be­hav­iour whilst real po­lice of­fi­cers said en­force­ment was not a pri­or­ity.

“It shows much more work is needed if the promised im­prove­ments in road safety are go­ing to be de­liv­ered. There is sim­ply no room for com­pla­cency from the ad­min­is­tra­tion.”

The coun­cil has re­ceived re­quests to add fur­ther streets to the 20mph net­work and of­fi­cers have as­sessed sev­eral streets for in­clu­sion. If ap­proved by coun­cil­lors on Fri­day, the process will be­gin to re­duce the speed limit on a num­ber of streets, in­clud­ing Craighall Road (from Stanley Road to Ferry Road), Bo’ness Road, and Gran­ton Road (from Ferry Road to Gran­ton Square).

Con­ser­va­tive trans­port spokesper­son Coun­cil­lor Nick Cook said: “For years only the Con­ser­va­tives spoke out against the coun­cil’s lazy, one-size-fits-all ap­proach to road safety.

“Speed re­duc­tions of less than 1.5mph strongly re­in­force the ev­i­dence based con­cerns we have con­sis­tently raised. Mil­lions have been wasted on a blan­ket scheme, when money could have been bet­ter in­vested in im­prov­ing safety at ac­ci­dent black spots.”

Trans­port and en­vi­ron­ment con­vener Coun­cil­lor Lesley Macinnes said: “Th­ese ini­tial re­sults demon­strate that by lead­ing the way to be­come Scot­land’s first 20mph city, we are hav­ing a real im­pact on the safety and well­be­ing of peo­ple in Ed­in­burgh. Re­search shows that for every 1mph re­duc­tion in speed there is a 6 per cent re­duc­tion in ac­ci­dents so the ev­i­dence that speeds are drop­ping by more than twice as much in some ar­eas is ex­tremely pos­i­tive.

“Of course, there is still work to be done to en­cour­age com­pli­ance and th­ese find­ings will help us to tar­get re­sources to achieve this.

“Our vi­sion is for a safe, sus­tain­able and ac­tive trans­port fu­ture in Ed­in­burgh, and calmer speeds are key to this.

“More re­laxed streets will en­cour­age cy­cling and walk­ing, re­duc­ing the risk of road traf­fic ac­ci­dents.”

0 Kevin Lang says the 20mph project has been botched

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