Campaigners hail Edinburgh's 20mph speed limit plan

Campaigners hail Edinburgh's 20mph speed limit plan

Edinburgh’s radical traffic plan will see a 20mph speed limit imposed on over 80% of the city’s roads. But the proposals have angered taxi drivers in the capital.

Road safety campaigners have called for a radical plan by the City of Edinburgh council to impose a 20mph speed limit on the vast majority of the capital’s streets to be rolled out across all of Scotland’s urban areas.

The £2.2m scheme, the first of its kind in Scotland, will affect more than 80% of the city’s roads, with drivers able to travel at higher speeds only on a handful of “arterial” routes. The Scottish capital will effectively have 20mph as the default speed for its urban areas (the council’s interactive map is available here).

The thing that really makes it attractive is the number of boxes it ticks.

Of course, there are benefits in terms of road safety – particularly to cyclists, children, the elderly and disabled people. But it also makes the area much more pleasant to be in, and the consequences to drivers are minimal because journey time in cities is dictated by how often you stop rather than the speed you travel at.”

Edinburgh’s plans are ambitious in terms of the size of the area affected, but if you look at some of the UK’s iconic cities, London, Manchester, Liverpool, York, Oxford, Bath and others have all rejected the idea of default 30mph limit.

And in Europe, cities like Paris, Barcelona, Milan and much of Norway and Sweden are adopting 30km/h (18.6mph) limits. There’s a growing consensus that 30mph just isn’t fit for purpose in a built-up area.

At the moment you have a default limit of 30mph with signs indicating areas where you have to drive more slowly.

If, instead, you make 20mph the standard and identify the areas where it’s acceptable to go faster, it means you don’t have to invest in so much new signage. It makes it cheaper to implement, and it’s also a more consistent approach.

One of our worries is that it will just put people off using taxis.

It seems like a very big stick to solve something that’s a serious problem, but not a large problem. Edinburgh doesn’t have a huge number of road casualties.

It’s a blanket approach.

On some streets, 20mph is a speed that you might aspire to rather than need to limit yourself to. But there are others where it looks and feels safer to go over 20, and that’s potentially confusing because drivers take their cue from the environment.

The Scottish Government is committed to creating a healthier, greener and safer Scotland and believes that the introduction of 20 miles per hour restrictions can help to contribute to all these objectives.

By reducing speed on our roads we can create streets where the space is shared more equally between different road users and create a safer environment, encouraging people to make active travel choices.

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Source: Guardian Transport

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