Below is a briefing on this issue from Council Officers. I shall place updates on my Facebook page when I get them.
Councillors approved a citywide 20mph speed limit network for Edinburgh at the Transport and Environment Committee on 13 January 2015 following extensive consultation and research showing a high level of public support for its introduction. The roll out of the Scheme is planned in 4 phases between June 2016 and March 2018.
The City of Edinburgh Council is introducing (with the exception of strategic routes) a citywide 20mph speed limit, the first city in Scotland to do so. The project aims to:
- reduce the risk and severity of accidents by reducing speed, increasing the safety and well being of all road users. This is in line with the Council’s Vision Zero philosophy, working towards the provision of a modern road network where all are safe from the risk of death or seriously injury
- create more favourable conditions for pedestrians and cyclists in the city. The extensive network of 20mph streets will help embed the QuietRoutes and the Cycle Friendly City Programme in a context that is safe and comfortable for cyclists
- create streets that are attractive, social and people friendly
- implement Policy Safe4 set out in Edinburgh’s Local Transport Strategy 2014-2019
Prior to commencement of the project, over 50% of Edinburgh’s residential streets were already in 20mph zones. The project extends the 20mph speed limit to the city centre, main shopping streets and residential areas while retaining a strategic network of roads at 30mph and 40mph. A map of the 20mph network and implementation timetable is available at www.edinburgh.gov.uk/20mph.
Progress to Date
Three Construction Phases are complete and live. Phase One (City Centre and Rural West Edinburgh) became effective on 31 July 2016, Phase Two (North, East and South Central Edinburgh) followed on 28 February 2017 and Phase Three (North West and West) on 16 August 2017.
Phase four of the network covers South Edinburgh, much of which is already within 20mph zones. Areas where new 20mph signage will be installed include Woodhall, Colinton, Oxgangs, Swanston, Fairmilehead and Greenbank. Phase four completes the programme.
Installation of signs and lines is due to start week beginning 22 January 2018. Work is scheduled to take around 6 weeks, with minimal disruption expected. The new speed limit for this phase is planned to become effective on 5 March 2018.
The introduction of the new 20mph limit relies on signage alone, although existing speed humps or other traffic calming will remain unchanged. 20mph signs will mark the entrance and exit of a 20mph area where the speed limit changes. These signs will be supplemented by smaller repeater signs or road markings with speed limit roundels.
Further information regarding the legislation and signage design guidance for 20mph speed limits is included as an appendix to this briefing note.
Police Scotland supports lower speeds across the city and is working with the Council to achieve this. The Police will continue to prioritise enforcement of the limit in streets with significant numbers of casualties and areas near schools.
As well as police enforcement such as warnings and issuing of speeding tickets, we are working to change driver behaviour through a citywide programme of awareness raising and education. Police Scotland have carried out a number of road safety education and enforcement exercises at local primary schools involving the 20mph ‘Reducer’ mascot and are helping to raise awareness and encourage compliance of 20mph through social media and other community events.
Since April 2017 we have been trialling the installation of temporary vehicle activated speed signs for short periods at locations across the city to encourage compliance and reinforce the 20mph message.
The Council is monitoring the outcomes of the 20mph programme and is carrying out a variety of ‘before and after’ surveys. Monitoring to assess traffic speeds, road casualties and public perceptions are all included in this programme which will continue throughout all phases. Monitoring results will be reported to Committee one year after completion of the network to allow evaluation of the full programme. Committee will then be able to consider whether any further action is necessary.
The University of Edinburgh and the Scottish Collaboration for Public Health Research and Policy has secured funding for and commenced an independent evaluation of the public health impact of 20mph speed limits in Edinburgh and Belfast. The study which is funded by the National Institute for Health Research involves partnership with other UK universities, NHS Scotland and the charity Sustrans. It is the largest study of its kind in the UK and will run until 2020.
Communication and Engagement
A detailed communication and engagement strategy supports scheme implementation. Partners including Police Scotland, Sustrans, NHS Lothian, Living Streets and Spokes are working with the Council to deliver the strategy. Each phase is accompanied by a local awareness campaign to familiarise different road users with the new scheme, promote road safety, active travel, better places and compliance with the new legal speed limits. The awareness campaign for phase four includes posters, leaflets, social media, lamp post wraps, bus shelter advertising and an advert in the South Edinburgh Directory.
In addition to local publicity, we are planning the following engagement initiatives to mark the final phase going live.
- 20mph video competition for primary pupils around the theme of ‘life is better at 20mph’. The three winning videos will be used on the Council’s Facebook, Twitter and YouTube channels as part of the 20mph education and awareness programme
- Glow in the dark bike ride around the city centre in the run up to the final phase going live
- Light Projection of 20mph image on iconic building in Edinburgh
- 20mph toolkit to encourage compliance and support communities to promote 20mph in their own neighbourhoods.
Information is disseminated via the Council’s website, and social media. A Facebook page with photos, video clips and posts has been set up to act as the focal online ‘community’ for the project. The page links through to the programme website where more details can be obtained.