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EU Urban Mobility Observatory
News article8 August 2018Edinburgh2 min read

Edinburgh city centre could be “largely traffic free”

In order to address the city's existing transport problems, the City of Edinburgh Council has been developing a strategic document setting out three different options for the future development of mobility in the Scottish capital. One of the options would see a major change in the city’s transport system, including the pedestrianisation of key streets in central areas.

Under this option, major roads in the city centre, including Princes Street and George Street, could be subject to a ban on cars, buses and taxis, which would turn the city centre into a pedestrian area. The concept of pedestrian priority could also be applied elsewhere in the city. There would be a need for complementary measures, which would see a series of hubs created where motorised traffic would have to stop and people would then have to switch to other transport modes. This so-called “radical” option would see a city-wide walking route and segregated cycling route network being developed supported by a wayfinding network to enable travel in the city. Under this option, there would be a smart card payment system applicable to all public transport providers and services. Bus priority corridors would be installed to connect new Park + Ride facilities to different central locations of Edinburgh.

A second option, called “the strategic approach”, would consist of traffic volume controls combined with restrictions on through traffic in certain areas. Pedestrians and cyclists would be given priority on key streets, like George Street and the Royal Mile, and gaps in the active transport network would be closed. The third option presented is a “business as usual” scenario.

If the document wins approval from the city council’s transport and environment committee, the report presenting the three options would be subject to an eight-week public consultation starting in September.

A specific challenge for Edinburgh is that it has a large city centre residential population. City council transport convener Councillor Lesley Macinnes stated that “We need to take care of their needs and expectations of where they live. It’s also about those who visit and those who come into the city centre.” The Councillor continued: “What is really exciting about the prospectus is the vision that it represents. The status quo is not enough for this city.”

Story first published by “The Scotsman” on 4th of August 2018.



Publication date
8 August 2018
  • Policy and research
  • United Kingdom