Speed Limit Review
The Speed Limit Review recommendations were published in 2012, setting out Transport Scotland’s intention to reduce the speed limit across 44 sections of the trunk road network to improve road safety. Details of the Review, including its purpose, the assessment methodology, the roads reviewed and outcomes reported at that time can be found on this.
Since the publication of the recommendations of the Speed Limit Review, Transport Scotland has been working to deliver these speed limit reductions.
Transport Scotland has recently updated the background information for the Speed Limit Review, recognising the time that has passed and the benefits of making decisions on the basis of the most current road safety performance data.
An initial check was undertaken in February 2015 taking account of up to date data. This was done to help identify whether or not the yet to be implemented speed limit reductions continued to be supported by the more recent data.
Based on this check, each planned speed limit reduction was allocated into one of the following three categories:
- Recommendation to reduce the speed limit remains appropriate
- Recommendation to reduce the speed limit is not supported by more up to date data
- Recommendation to reduce the speed limit requires further consideration
A flow chart is provided below which summarises the findings of this check:
Since this check was undertaken, Transport Scotland has been continuing with the delivery of the statutory process to promote and deliver the speed limit reductions where the updated accident data continues to support their introduction. This has included continued engagement with stakeholders and members of the public where objections to these proposals have been received.
We have halted the delivery of the 5 speed limit reductions where the updated accident data no longer supports introduction.
Outcome of Further Review
In 7 cases the review of updated accident statistics identified the need for further consideration to be made. In these cases we have worked with our Operating Companies and stakeholders to review all available evidence in line with Setting local Speed Limits Guidance. These considerations have now been concluded and the list below sets out the revised recommendations in each of these cases:
No Longer Proposed for Delivery
- A9 Poles to the Mound
- A82 South Ballachulish to B863
- A84 Kilmahog to Strathyre
Still Proposed for Delivery
- A85 East Huntingtower to Lochty
- A85 Boundary to Lochearnhead
- A83 Furnace to Cumlodden
- A85 Taynuilt to Connel (across shortened 4 km section on approach to Connel only)
Transport Scotland will now re-commence the delivery of the statutory process to promote and deliver the speed limit reductions still proposed for delivery. This will include continued engagement with stakeholders and members of the public where objections to these proposals have been / are received.
We will stop the delivery of those orders where the recommendation was to stop, and the existing speed limits will remain in place.
Subsequent to the recommendations of the Speed Limit Review, Transport Scotland has been working to undertake the statutory process to promote the proposed speed limit reductions. Many have now been delivered, and the statutory process to promote others is on-going. However following detailed consideration and analysis of issues and concerns raised by stakeholders and members of the public through this process, Transport Scotland no longer plan to implement the speed limit reductions at the following locations, and the existing speed limits will remain in place:
- A83 Ardishaig to Tarbert
- A830 Glenfinnan to Lochailort
- A85 Crieff to Comrie
Speed Limit Review Q&A
Speed Limit Review - Overview
Speed limits on Scottish trunk roads have been carefully reviewed to see if changes can help improve driver experience and increase safety.
Transport Scotland commissioned our operating companies to review the speed limits on Scottish trunk roads. We have found that some speed limits should change and some should stay the same. Use this information to understand how we have reviewed the existing limits, why we've decided to change and how it affects you.
Changing speed limits - Why we have reviewed
In August 2006 the Scottish Government issued guidance titled 'Setting Local Speed Limits' which outlined the framework for road authorities to determine speeds on all A & B class roads (i.e not including motorways) so that they are consistent, understood by drivers and appropriate for the environment and circumstances of their use.
Speed limits give road users information about the nature of the road and risks posed to them and other road users. It is important that speed limits are clear to all road users so that they can easily travel at the safe speed. Consistent limits also encourage drivers to comply and travel safely, rather than treating the limit as their target speed. We’ve reviewed speed limits to achieve these aims.
Existing speed limits are set to a national standard defined by the type of road and surrounding environment. That means one stretch of road might switch limits as it travels through urban or rural settings or widens and changes terrain. This system means that national limits are not always suitable for all roads so, where appropriate, local road authorities are entitled to set their own limits.
The review aims to make speed limits clear and consistent across the country so they are:
- Easy for drivers to understand and obey
- Appropriate for the environment
- In line with the function of the road
The outcomes of the review can be found at Outcomes and Next Steps. It should be noted that Transport Scotland is working with police and communities in a number of areas on measures to positively influence driver speeds. In such cases we are allowing a period of time to assess effectiveness. Sections of proposed speed limit increases may also benefit from these measures and as such, the proposed speed limit increases will not be promoted at this time.
The speed limit review aims to ensure that speed limits are consistent, understood by drivers and appropriate for the environment and road use.
Transport Scotland and our operating companies have followed guidance to review the speed limits of our trunk roads. The review has aimed to improve self compliance with speed limits and thereby reduce accidents and enhance road use for the long term.
The Scottish Government’s Setting Local Speed Limits have given guiding principles to achieving these aims.
Setting Local Speed Limits makes sure that the advice for road authorities is consistent and up-to-date. In reviewing speed limits it also:
- Improves clarity and consistency of speed limits
- Sets local speed limits to reflect the needs of all road users, not just vehicles
- Improves local communities with a better balance between road safety, accessibility and environmental objectives
- Enables road users to recognise risks and appropriate speeds on different types of road
- Helps self compliance and encourages road users to trust speed limit suitability
- Reduces the number of accidents where excessive or inappropriate speed is a contributory factor
Guiding document: Setting Local Speed Limits
To find the right speed limits for Scotland's trunk roads our operating companies have reviewed each of their A class routes in line with the 2006 Scottish Government guidance Setting Local Speed Limits.
Defining suitable speed limits for Scotland's trunk roads has to take into account the many environments they travel through. Many factors have been considered as part of the assessment including: Urban, rural and village conditions, mean speed, accident rate and individual route characteristics. The specifics of each of these factors vary from site to site and it is a combination of all of these factors which has led to the appropriate recommendations.
This section summarises how this review was undertaken and more detail can be found in Speed Limit Review: The Assessment Process (pdf, 298KB)
Defining road character
Similarities in Scotland's roads have allowed us to group them into categories that describe their nature and character.
Each section has been identified as urban, rural or for special consideration and may also be allocated a J category to indicate the number of junctions and accesses.
A1 - Rural road alignment: should have wide verges, good overtaking opportunities, large radii bends, good visibility, appropriate lane widths
A2 - Rural alignment: which may include some bends and undulations, verges should be average quality
A3 - Rural alignment: may include sharp bends, narrow verges, frequent double white line systems, undulating roads with low forward visibility
U - Urban environment
V – Village meeting village criteria
SC - Rural section containing frontage development warranting special consideration
J1 - Low number of junctions and accesses within section
J2 - Frequent junctions and accesses within section
Once the road network had been split into sections, the next step of the process is to identify an appropriate speed limit for a section. The method for identifying an appropriate speed varies slightly depending on its character and use.
The assessment process for these types of road involved:
Accident rate – Calculating the accident rate to identify if it was above the threshold of 35 per 100 million vehicle kilometers for each section.
Mean speed – Measuring the average speed of vehicles.
Characteristics – Identifying what speed limit the character of the road reflects in line with the accident rate and mean speed using the guidance framework which generally recommends: 60mph for high quality roads with few bends, junctions or accesses and 50mph for lower quality strategic roads with relatively high number or bends, junctions or accesses.
As the Scottish Government's 'Setting Local Speed Limits' did not cover rural dual carriageways the following guidance from the Chief Highways Engineer (CHE), was used to assess sections to discover:
Accident rate – if the accident rate was above a threshold of 40 per 100 million vehicle kilometres for current speed limits of 70mph or above 86 per 100 million vehicle kilometres for current speed limits of 60 mph. If the accident rate is not above the threshold then the speed limit review process is complete for the section.
Mean speed – where the accident rate was found to be above the threshold we were required to measure the average speed of vehicles.
Identifying Opportunities – based on the accident rate (if above the threshold) and mean speed data a decision would then be made on whether other opportunities could be used to reduce the accident rate or whether reducing the speed would be a suitable option.
Villages and areas of significant residential or commercial development
For villages, a 30mph speed limit is usually appropriate. To assess the suitability of speed limits for each of these locations, we've used additional advice to define a village and find other useful guidance on applying speed limits in these types of areas from: Traffic Advisory leaflet
This has helped us to analyse:
- Provisions for vulnerable road users
- Frontage development
- Density of the development and its function
It also recognises that, in some cases, road-fronting developments may not warrant a 30mph limit so a 40 or 50mph limit may be appropriate.
The most important consideration for urban areas is how to achieve a balance between mobility and the safety of road users. The standard speed limit for urban areas is 30mph. Some areas may also have a 40mph and 50mph as advised by the guidance: Setting Local Speed Limits
On trunk roads, temporary 20mph speed limit is also appropriate outside schools where children may be present.
Please note: The application of 20mph speed limits is not covered in the Setting Local Speed Limits guidance and is therefore not covered under this speed limit review.
This is the accident metric used in the review. It is a measure of how likely an accident occurs within a section, taking cognisance of traffic flows and distances travelled. It is measured in accidents per 100 million vehicle kilometres.
An accident rate above the threshold of 35 accidents per 100 million vehicle kilometers might suggest that speed limits are too high for the conditions or reveal that other accident remedial methods are needed to improve safety.
When reviewing suitable speed limits our operating companies looked at the cause of accidents as part of the assessment process. They identified whether measures could be taken to reduce the accident rate where this was found to be above the threshold. If no common cause was found, and other aspects of the assessment would also point to a reduced speed limit, then a reduced speed limit was considered.
Mean speed for each road section was assessed using the guidance: Vehicle speed measurement on all purpose roads
The data gathered from this assessment indicates the average speed used by drivers for those sections of road. It is important that this mean speed is at or below the new speed limit to meet drivers expectation of the environment.
Following our review of the speed limits, we consulted with the 8 police forces to seek their local knowledge and to gain support of our proposed recommendations. In some cases the police did not support our recommendation and we have amended our outcomes in line with the recommendations of the police.
Our operating companies have undertaken the review of speed limits in line with the guidance in setting local speed limits. They have used their operational knowledge of the local areas together with representations from local communities, residents, MSPs and other interested parties to come to a recommendation on an appropriate speed limit.
Promoting the Traffic Regulation Order that amends the existing speed limit will follow a statutory process which includes advertising of the proposed Order and opportunities for objections to be raised and resolved.
Notices detailing the effect of the proposed Orders will be published in local newspapers circulating in the areas affected by the changes and will also be available here on the Transport Scotland website. Local display locations will hold copies of the proposed orders and plans these will be detailed in the Notices.
Each applicable trunk road has been assessed to consider consistent and appropriate speed limits along the entire route.
The outcomes from the speed limit review identified a number of changes, see all changes summarised.
It should be noted that Transport Scotland is working with police and communities in a number of areas on measures to positively influence driver speeds. In such cases we are allowing a period of time to assess effectiveness. Sections of proposed speed limit increases may also benefit from these measures and as such, the proposed speed limit increases will not be promoted at this time.
Research data that has resulted in the recommended outcomes is published on a section by section basis:
- A1 Edinburgh to Berwick Upon Tweed Trunk Road
- A68 Edinburgh to Carter Bar Trunk Road
- A7 Melrose to Carlisle Trunk Road
- A6091 Ravenswood Roundabout to Kingsknowe Roundabout
- A702 Edinburgh – Abington Trunk Road
- A720 Edinburgh City Bypass Trunk Road
- A876 Dennyloanhead – Kilbagie Roundabout Trunk Road
- A977 Longannet Roundabout – Gartarry Roundabout Trunk Road
- A985 Kincardine – Rosyth Trunk Road
- A90 Dalmeny Flyover - Admiralty Trunk Road
- A75 Gretna – Dumfries – Stranraer Trunk Road
- A76 Dumfries – Kilmarnock Trunk Road
- A77 Glasgow – Stranraer Trunk Road
- A78 Greenock – Prestwick Trunk Road
- A701 Dumfries – Beattock Trunk Road
- A725 Shawhead – East Kilbride – Birniehill Roundabout Trunk Road
- A726 Birniehill Roundabout East Kilbride - West Mains Roundabout Trunk Road
- A737/A738 St James Interchange – Kilwinning – Hawkhill Trunk Road
- A751 Inchparks – Innermessan Trunk Road
- A8 West Ferry to Greenock Trunk Road
- A82 Dalnottar – Stoneymollan Trunk Road
- A898 Erskine Bridge Trunk Road
- A9 Dunblane to Perth Trunk Road
- A90 Perth – Fraserburgh Trunk Road
- A92 Kirkcaldy – Dundee Trunk Road
- A972 Kirkcaldy - Dundee Trunk Road
- A95 Granish – Keith Trunk Road
- A96 Aberdeen – Inverness Trunk Road
- A82 Stoneymollan – Inverness Trunk Road
- A83 Tarbet – Lochgilphead – Kennacraig Trunk Road
- A84 Stirling – Crianlarich Trunk Road
- A85 Perth - Crianlarich & Tyndrum – Oban Trunk Road
- A86 Spean Bridge – Kingussie Trunk Road
- A87 Invergarry – Kyle of Lochalsh – Borve – Uig Trunk Road
- A828 Connel – South Ballachulish Trunk Road
- A830 Fort William – Mallaig Trunk Road
- A835/A893 Tore – Ullapool Trunk Road
- A887 Invermoriston – Moriston Bridge Trunk Road
- A889 Dalwhinnie – Laggan Bridge Trunk Road
- A9 Perth - Thurso Trunk Road
- A99 Latheron Wick Trunk Road
The outcomes of the speed limit review concluded 67 recommended changes to existing speed limits. Twenty three sections recommend a speed limit increase and 44 sections recommend a speed limit decrease.
In some areas, where an increase has been recommended, we are already working with communities and the police to positively influence driver speeds towards compliance with the current limit. In such cases we are allowing a period of time to assess effectiveness.
Sections that are potentially subject to increase may benefit from these efforts as it may influence driver speeds towards compliance with existing limits. As such, the recommended speed limit increases will not be promoted until these assessments have been fully explored. The recommendations for the A7 Newcastleton road to Ewes Bridge and the A7 Glenesk Road to Skippers Bridge sections both include a decrease and an increase. For the reasons explained above these recommendations will also not be promoted at this time
Traffic Regulation Orders to implement the Speed Limit Review’s outcomes will be promoted with the speed limit decreases. As yet, no proposed speed limit increases will be promoted.
For a speed limit to change, a Traffic Regulation Order must be promoted. This complies with the Road Traffic Regulation Act 1984. This will follow a statutory process which includes advertising the proposed Order and allowing for objections to be resolved. Notices detailing the effect of the proposed Orders will be published in newspapers local to the area affected by the change and will also be available here on the Transport Scotland website. Local displays will hold copies of the proposed orders and their effects. The aim is to commence the first traffic regulation order by the end of 2012.
NB: Proposed increases are not being promoted at this time
Speed Limit Increases
|Road||Section||Guidance recommended speed limit||Current Limit (MPH)||Proposed Limit (MPH)|
|A6091||Tweed Br to Kingsknowe||
|Kingsknowe to Netherbarns||
|North side of Selkirk||
|A725||North Road to Bellziehill||
|A725||Whirlies Rbt to Birniehill R’bout||
|A87||Uig 40 east||
|A87||Uig 30 east||
NB: Proposed increases are not being promoted at this time
In 2006, the Scottish Government published guidance ‘Setting Local Speed Limits’. This guidance placed a requirement on all roads authorities to carry out a review of the speed limits on all A and B class roads by 2011 in accordance with the revised guidance. The aim of this guidance was to make speed limits more consistent and easily understood by drivers across the road network.
Yes. This is the most recent and up to date published guidance. We are aware that the Department for Transport have been looking at ways of improving the process of assessing speed limits and they have recently been consulting other road authorities to input data as part of this process. Once new guidance is issued this will become a part of reviewing the speed limits as appropriate.
The guidance applies only to A and B class roads and therefore the speed limit on motorways have not been reviewed as part of the speed limit review.
Under the Traffic Advisory Leaflet 1/04, the definition of a village relates to the properties directly facing on to the road. The guidance recommends the following criteria:
- Twenty or more houses on one or both sides of the road, and
- A minimum length of 600m.
However, there may be some circumstances where a 30mph limit is not appropriate where a village meets these criteria.
The Speed Limit Review guidance did not consider 20mph speed limits. However as part of Transport Scotland's ongoing review of the safety of the trunk road network, consideration will be given to potential 20mph pilot sites at suitably identified locations.
Please see the assessment process
Where a lower speed limit has been proposed, accident analysis was carried out to identify whether the accident rate could be reduced using remedial measures before reducing the speed limit. In addition to this, the mean speed has been reviewed to ensure it is in line with the new speed limit.
Transport Scotland consulted with all 8 police forces as part of the review process. The police support the findings and recommendations of the review.
Yes, we can provide a copy of the report produced by our operating companies for your road. Request a copy by contacting firstname.lastname@example.org
Our analytical work relevant to the review has been completed and we wanted to give open access to the data that resulted in the recommended outcomes.
It is recognised that a 30mph speed limit is usually the norm in villages which meet the village criteria. There are also circumstances where the settlement does not meet village criteria and that a 40mph, 50mph or in some cases the national speed limit may be appropriate.
The speed limit review balances the needs of all road users with the function of the road. Where the development is sporadic, with lack of facilities such as footpaths, bus stops or direct residential and commercial frontage, drivers may not perceive a hazard without physical speed restricting measures.
Implementing speed limits in these situations, where the level of hazard does not warrant a speed limit may lead to disregard for a speed limit and undermine the consistent approach needed to educate drivers in choosing an appropriate speed to drive.
Sometimes where there are outlying houses beyond a village or town boundary with high approach speeds, an intermediate speed limit (sometimes called a 'buffer zone') may be appropriate.
The Traffic Advisory Leaflet 1/04 (TAL 1/04) village speed limits suggests that where a 30mph is applied within a village, a visual message is needed to reinforce a speed limit to drivers to ensure adherence with the speed limit.
TAL 1/04 suggests that a measure of density of housing of 3 houses in 100 metres should apply at each end of the speed limit to reinforce the visual message for drivers.
In ensuring that the speed limits within villages are appropriate and enforced with an appropriate visual message, compliance with the speed limit should be better achieved.
In these situations where the extents of the 30mph speeds limits are deemed inappropriate, the appropriateness for a buffer zone or intermediate speed limit prior to the 30mph limit has been considered.
In applying a more appropriate speed limit, which may be higher as well as lower, this is to promote better self compliance of drivers in respectto speed limits.
The aim of the speed limit review is to make speed limits more easily understood by drivers. Part of this involves aligning the speed limit with the hazards that a driver is faced with, so that a driver is likely to expect and respect lower speed limits where they can see potential hazards.
We have looked at similar villages and towns on the road network to identify a consistent approach across the network which takes into account the level of frontage development and other aspects such as density of development which contribute to a drivers perception of hazard.
In applying a more appropriate speed limit, which may be higher as well as lower, this is to promote better self compliance of drivers in respect to speed limits.
We have taken into account concerns that have been raised through representations within our assessment of the speed limits, but we do understand that in some cases you may not agree with these recommendations. In this case, write to us: email@example.com
All proposed decreases will be progressed. In some areas where an increase has been recommended Transport Scotland is already working with communities and the police to positively influence driver speeds towards compliance with the current limit. These measures will be given a period of time to assess their effectiveness (and potentially can be used in other areas where an increase has been recommended). As such, the Traffic Regulation Orders for recommended sites of any speed limit increases will not be promoted until these options have been fully explored.
For a speed limit to change, a traffic regulation order, under the Road Traffic Regulation Act 1984, needs to be made. This will follow a statutory process which includes advertising of the proposed Order and opportunities for objections to be raised and resolved. Notices detailing the effect of the proposed Orders will be published in local newspapers circulating in the areas affected by the changes and will also be available here on the Transport Scotland website. Local displays will hold copies of the proposed orders and their effects. The aim is to commence the first traffic regulation order by the end of 2012.
The Speed Limit Review has the aim of making speed limits more consistent throughout the road network and more in line with drivers’ perception of hazard. Therefore changing the speed limit is unlikely to result in a significant change in drivers’ mean speed where no alteration has been made to the physical character of the road.
In some areas, where an increase has been recommended, we are already working with communities and the police to positively influence driver speeds towards compliance with the current limit. In such cases we are allowing a period of time to assess effectiveness. Other sections that are potentially subject to increase may benefit from these efforts as it may influence driver speeds towards compliance with existing limits.
The guidance states that speed limits should be kept under review in line with changing circumstances on the road network.