A 20mph speed limit policy has been agreed for the vast majority of roads across Glasgow.

Following a decision of the council’s City Administration Committee, the council will aim to introduce a 20mph speed limit on all of the city’s residential streets, the city centre, other main shopping areas or where there are high levels of walking or cycling.

Under the policy, all other streets in the city would generally remain at 30mph, although final arrangements would be subject to careful assessment. Over 1400 km of the city’s 1900 km of roads are considered to be in residential areas.

With 288km of city streets already subject to a 20mph limit, it is intended that lowering vehicle speeds more widely will improve road safety but also reduce noise and congestion.  Recent national guidance indicates that a 20mph limit could be widely introduced without the need for expensive traffic calming measures.

A widespread 20 mph limit was also recommended by the Climate Emergency Working Group as part of Glasgow’s effort to achieve net zero carbon emissions by 2030.

Councillor Anna Richardson, City Convener for Sustainability and Carbon Reduction, said a widespread 20mph limit would keep Glasgow in step with many other cities across the UK and help to promote active travel.

She said: “First and foremost a city wide 20mph speed limit is about improving road safety. It’s well known that lower speeds reduce the risk of accidents but also reduce the severity of any injuries suffered by those involved. Our own initial research on the impact of 20mph zones already in place Glasgow is indicating a 31% reduction in incidents, which is hugely positive.

“Safer roads will make walking and cycling a much more attractive option for getting around the city. Building a greater reliance on more sustainable forms of transport is vital if we are to achieve our target of Glasgow becoming carbon neutral by 2030.

“Many cities across the country are introducing a widespread 20mph limit and the evidence that’s being gathered shows that the impact on journey times for cars and buses has been minimal.”

It is estimated that introducing a widespread 20mph limit with traditional traffic calming measures, such as speed bumps and raised tables, would cost around £25m.

But a recent relaxation of the rules on traffic calming means that a 20mph limit could be supported with the use of appropriate signage and road markings, which is estimated would cost around £4.35m. Physical traffic calming measures may still be required where traffic speed or incidents create specific concerns.

Proposals for a city wide 20mph limit will be subject to the statutory Traffic Regulation Order process, but, if approved, could implemented over the course of a four year programme.

The decision by the City Administration Committee followed a recommendation by the Environment, Sustainability and Carbon Reduction Policy Committee to introduce a 20mph policy and implementation will be subject to funds becoming available.

Further information can be found in the paper presented at the City Administration Committee.