Twenty limit ‘cuts average car speed by just 1.3mph’
●New study raises questions over the impact of £3m Edinburgh-wide scheme
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