Lower speed limit making Edinburgh safer

Tuesday 8th October 2019

A new 20mph speed limit across much of Edinburgh could be behind a ‘substantial’ fall in the number of traffic accidents.

An evaluation being considered by councillors later this week also finds public backing for the lower speed limit has grown since a city-wide approach began in 2018.

Around 80% of streets in Scotland’s capital now use the lower limit, although motorists can still drive at 30 on some main roads.

The council report says there has been a ‘substantial reduction in annual numbers of road traffic collisions and casualties’ since the change.

UK experts believe every 1mph reduction in average speeds in cities leads to a 6% fall in the number of injuries and deaths.

In the City of Edinburgh council area average speeds have fallen by 1.3mph – with the largest falls in rural areas to the west of the city.

But it says it is ‘too early’ to confirm whether the new limit is responsible for the fall in casualties.

Another independent report, due in 2021, will explore what precisely is behind the drop.

Transport and environment committee convener Councillor Lesley Macinnes says the findings are encouraging:

“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.

“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 and improving the quality of life for all road users.”