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Glasgow City Council

Glasgow sets out plans to implement citywide 20mph speed limit

Published: 31 January 2023

Glasgow has set out plans to implement a citywide 20mph mandatory speed limit to boost road safety and encourage active travel.

Our Environment and Liveable Neighbourhoods Committee heard today that a roll-out of 20mph speed limits across the majority of Glasgow's roads will be delivered over the next 18 months as part of a £4.5m programme, part-funded by Sustrans. 

With 288km of streets including Glasgow city centre already subject to a 20mph limit, a wider lowering of vehicle speeds is expected to make our roads safer and encourage more walking, wheeling and cycling in quieter and less congested neighbourhoods. The move also supports our Climate Plan by helping to decarbonise transport.

Glasgow has previously approved a policy that would see a mandatory 20mph speed limit become the standard for all residential streets, the city centre, other main shopping areas or where there are high levels of walking, wheeling or cycling. Other streets in the city would generally remain at 30mph.

Revised legislation and guidance on 20mph limits have also opened up the potential to introduce widespread 20mph restrictions without costly physical traffic calming measures. A signage and road markings approach has already been adopted in our city centre and is also used widely by other councils.

Councillor Angus Millar, Convener for Climate and Transport said a widespread 20mph speed limit would bring Glasgow in line with many other UK cities and help promote sustainable transport.

He added: "Quite simply, slower is safer. A citywide speed limit of 20mph is about improving road safety by helping to reduce the risk of accidents and the severity of injuries sustained.  

"Reducing the impact of traffic on communities will help us secure safer streets and contribute to the wider shift we need towards more sustainable forms of transport, which is vital if we are to achieve our target of Glasgow becoming carbon neutral by 2030.

"We know that many other cities have a default 20mph speed limit and the evidence that's been gathered shows a minimal impact on the journey times for cars and buses.

"We are working with Transport Scotland to take these changes forward across the city and preparatory work on the scheme roll-out will start this Spring. We will also take forward a communications campaign as work progresses to maximise awareness of the mandatory speed limit and to support a change in driver behaviour."

Emily Gait, Grant Manager at Sustrans, added: "Reducing speed limits in built-up areas makes everyday journeys safer for everyone.

"The implementation of a citywide 20mph mandatory speed limit in Glasgow is a big step forward on an issue that will save lives. This is especially beneficial for the most vulnerable people in society, including children and people with disabilities.

"The expansion of slower speeds from the city centre into quieter, less congested neighbourhoods will enable more people, regardless of age or ability, to walk, wheel and cycle".

The delivery of this scheme is being supported by a grant of £2.495m from Places for Everyone, an active travel infrastructure fund backed by Transport Scotland and administered by Sustrans.  

The move to a default 20mph speed limit in built up areas of the city is a key strand of the council's Road Safety Plan. It is also backed by our Transport Strategy which sets out policies and actions that support road safety and active travel, as well as the rebalancing of public space and transport decarbonisation.

Next Steps:

An assessment of all roads in the city will start in the coming weeks to determine which can be assigned the 20mph limit. The necessary legal, technical and logistical work required to implement the new speed limit will then commence in the Autumn. 

Delivery of schemes on all sites is expected to be fully complete by June 2024, after being delivered in stages on a zonal basis. There will also be a period of post-installation evaluation to monitor effectiveness.

The report that was presented to the Environment and Liveable Neighbourhoods Committee today can be accessed by clicking on this link.

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