20mph rolls on but jury it out

Edinburgh's 20mph zone is to be expanded in August
Edinburgh's 20mph zone is to be expanded in August
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Some of the heat has gone out of the 20mph debate since the new speed limit was launched last year.

My guess is that most people are a bit more comfortable with the new limit because it is not making a big difference. That is down to pragmatic, light touch approach taken by the police.

The sense I get is that traffic has on the whole slowed down a bit - but not much. That’s hardly scientific, but it echoes evidence from other cities, such as Manchester, which recently halted the roll out of its 20mph scheme because it didn’t appear to be improving accident rates.

The trouble in trying to assess the Edinburgh scheme is that so little evidence is available. Academics at Edinburgh University are planning to study it - but their results won’t be ready until 2020.

For our council leaders, it is almost an article of faith. The scheme, they say, is about changing the behaviour of motorists over the longterm, rather than an immediate drop in accident numbers.

In the meantime, the roll out continues, motorists keep trying to second guess what speed is acceptable and questions remain about whether £2.2m would be better spent on other road safety measures.