Scotland is leading the way amongst the four UK nations with its proposals to adopt a Vision Zero approach to safe roads. In its consultation on a Road Safety Framework to 2030 which has just closed, it has set a target that by 2050 no one will be killed or seriously injured on its roads. A huge amount of thought has gone into this plan and there is much to admire and much that the other UK nations could learn from and follow. The foundation of the plan is the Safe Systems approach of Safe Road Use, Safe Vehicles, Safe Roads and Roadsides, Safe Speeds and Post-Crash Response. Also strong are the clear links to other strategies where real change is needed in the way people move about and travel including Climate Emergency, Public Health (enabling more walking and cycling) and improving Air Quality.
In our consultation response, Action Vision Zero has outlined a number of issues that we feel need greater focus in the strategy. These include:
- Aiming for and delivering less traffic especially in built-up areas.
- Developing different strategies for reducing danger on roads in built-up areas.
- Reducing pedestrian and cycling casualties in built-up areas.
- The significance of the road environment as a source of danger.
There are also a number of specific policies that should be adopted as part of the implementation of the strategy. These include:
- A default 20mph speed limit in built-up areas.
- Outside built-up areas, adopting a 50mph speed limit on single carriageway roads.
- Requiring mandatory speed limiters (Intelligent Speed Assistance (ISA)) for vehicles that are used for work.
- Focusing on town centres and high streets and moving towards – low vehicle speeds, safe and frequent crossing facilities and reduced carriageway space (replacing it with protected cycle lanes, wider pavements and greening).
- Protected cycle lanes on main roads.
- Rolling out Low Traffic Neighbourhoods/Neighbourhood Streets to reduce through traffic.
- Introducing SMART Road User Charging across Scotland.
Overall, we would like to see far more detail on the steps that Scotland proposes to be realistically capable of reducing casualties in urban areas. This feels an issue that is unexplored in the data analysis and the strategies proposed in the consultation document. Given the potential of ISA to increase compliance with (lower) speed limits and the huge safey benefits of them, we would like to see the government in Scotland following the lead in Wales and adopting a 20mph default speed limit.
Do look at our full consultation response below: