Researchers at the University of Edinburgh have today (12 June) launched a new study, which will evaluate the impact of 20mph speed limits in two British cities over the next three years.
The study, described by the researchers as the largest of its kind in the UK, will measure casualty and traffic accident rates in Edinburgh and Belfast to determine whether 20mph limits improve road safety.
Rates of cycling and walking will also be measured to assess the impact of 20mph limits on active travel choices, while local residents’ attitudes towards the lower limit – and how it has affected their quality of life – will also be assessed.
Researchers say the project, which is scheduled to run until 2020, could help inform authorities in other cities considering a reduction in speed limits.
The study is being led by the University of Edinburgh and the Scottish Collaboration for Public Health Research and Policy, working in partnership with other UK universities, NHS Health Scotland and the charity Sustrans. Funded has been provided by the National Institute for Health Research.
Dr Ruth Jepson from the University of Edinburgh, said: "We are excited to launch this major project which we hope will provide very important insights into the public health effects of such initiatives.
Andy Cope, director of insight, research and monitoring at Sustrans, said: "We anticipate that our broad focus will generate a wealth of evidence and learning that will be invaluable for informing future roll-outs of similar schemes in the UK and around the world."
Another major study looking at whether 20mph limits reduce speeds and collisions, being carried out by Atkins on behalf of the DfT, has been ongoing since October 2014. While there is no firm date as yet for the publication of the findings, we understand this is likely to be late 2017/early 2018.
Want to know more about speed and road safety?
Online library of research and reports etc – visit the Road Safety Knowledge Centre
Key facts and summaries of research reports – visit the Road Safety Observatory (speed limits)