Evaluation shows ‘positive impact’ of 20mph in Edinburgh

12.12 | 15 October 2019 | | 3 comments

Evaluation of 20mph speed limits in Edinburgh shows they are having ‘a real impact on the safety and wellbeing’ of people in the city.

Introduced in a number of phases between 2016 and 2018, the 20mph limit covers more than 80% of Edinburgh’s roads – including all residential, shopping and city centre streets.

Evaluation of the roll out, published by the City of Edinburgh Council earlier this month, found a statistically significant reduction in speeds.

Across the 66 sites surveyed, speeds dropped by an average of 1.34mph – and by up to 2.41mph in some areas.

City of Edinburgh Council says for every 1mph reduction in speed, research has shown a 6% reduction in collisions, ‘demonstrating the significance of these changes’.

Cllr Lesley Macinnes, transport and environment convener, City of Edinburgh Council, 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% 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.”

Popularity grows
The research also shows support for the scheme has grown since its implementation.

A survey of more than 1,200 households, carried out before and after, revealed that 65% of respondents are now in support, with 24% strongly supporting it, compared to 58% and 20% before the roll-out. 

Safety and an improved environment for walking and cycling were among the most important factors for participants.

Cllr Lesley Macinnes added: “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 and improving the quality of life for all road users.”



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    The time taken for a journey in a motor vehicle in a built-up area is not actually influenced by the speed limit, but by the presence of other traffic, the road layouts- not to mention traffic signals – so a reduction from a 30 limit to a 20 limit wouldn’t affect journey times and therefore no cost to commerce.

    Hugh Jones, Cheshire
    Agree (6) | Disagree (7)

    If a reduction of 1mph results in a 6% reduction in accidents then, dropping the speed limit by 10mph should have shown a 60% drop in accidents!
    No actual statistics of how many people have taken up Walking & Cycling, or the drop in pollution that is always claimed!
    Also no mention of how much longer it takes to drive anywhere or the congestion caused or cost to commerce.
    Nice to see all the children lined up with their ‘educators’, if they are now so expert on driving, perhaps they should hand them a driving licence!

    Terry Hudson, Whitstable, Kent
    Agree (12) | Disagree (6)

    I can’t help wondering if a typical speed reduction of 1.34mph is a significant as is claimed and could even be down to the accuracy and tolerance of the method used for measurement. I doubt that there would be any discernible reduction in speeds to the casual observers i.e the residents and pedestrians, enough for it to count as a factor in a positive evaluation.

    Until drivers become more self-disciplined and respectful of their environment, then residential 20 limits will unfortunately be the least complied with speed limit.

    Hugh Jones, Cheshire
    Agree (20) | Disagree (3)

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