Glasgow in favour of Twenty’s Plenty to reduce road fatalities
A mandatory 20mph speed limit was introduced in Glasgow City Centre in March 2016. The aim of this initiative was to improve safety by reducing the number and severity of road accidents.
It was hoped that the knock-on effect would be to encourage more people to leave the car at home and take up ‘active travel,’ such as walking or cycling. This in turn would have obvious benefits for the environment by reducing pollution levels.
Since then, new 20mph speed limits have been rolled out across 77 areas of Glasgow, covering more than 200km of road. The council’s goal is for 35% of residential roads in Glasgow to eventually have a 20mph speed limit in place.
However, Edinburgh has gone a step further. Edinburgh City Council is in the process of implementing 20mph speed limits across the city, which will eventually see 80% of all roads covered. This is being rolled out in six phases, the first of which began in July 2016. The project is due for completion in February 2018.
69% in favour of Glasgow 20mph speed limit
Most people are supportive of such measures, with 69% of respondents to Glasgow City Council’s consultation process indicating that they were in favour of the new lower limits.
Unsurprisingly, the parents of children under 16 were the most supportive. The most likely cause of death in 11-16 year olds, aside from disease, is a road traffic accident. A reduced speed limit will hopefully go some way to changing that statistic, and to improving survival rates from road accidents generally.
Only 1% chance of fatal road traffic accident at 20mph
A Department for Transport study showed that for those involved in a vehicular accident at a speed of 40mph, there was a 30% chance of being killed. At 30mph, this dropped to 7%.
However, at 20mph, the odds of being killed tumbled to just 1%.
Equivalent schemes in London have already proven that the reduction of the speed limit is an effective way to reduce the incidence of injuries: a 20mph limit in place across 20 zones in London has resulted in a 42% reduction in casualties.
Scottish councils ‘commit’ to reduce speed limits to 20mph
In Scotland, all 32 councils have pledged to reduce all residential area speed limits to 20mph unless there is special cause for there to be a higher limit.
However, many are lagging behind the examples set in Glasgow and Edinburgh. A Scottish Greens MSP recently published a report with the results of Freedom of Information requests to all local authorities. It demonstrated that the roll-out of the reduced limit has been piecemeal at best.
North Ayrshire Council revealed that only 4 roads in that area have a permanent 20mph speed limit, while Falkirk Council currently has zero.
Whilst it can clearly be costly and complex for local authorities to implement such changes, the benefits cannot be overstated.
Dropping the limit has been conclusively shown to reduce the negative effects of vehicular travel on urban roads, creating a better and safer environment for our most vulnerable road users.
Hopefully more council areas will follow suit in the near future and make our residential areas ‘twenty’s plenty’ zones.