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Safer roads

Local safety schemes

We manage several annual budgets used to improve road safety and the road network.

dropped crossing point at Steer Park Road
Dropped crossing point on Steer Park Road

Minor schemes

This budget is used for smaller schemes usually costing less than £5,000 which aim to:

  • improve access
  • solve traffic management issues

These schemes include: 

  • pedestrian dropped crossings
  • changes to lining
  • provision of bollards
  • one way streets or width restrictions
  • signing improvements

Living Streets

Citadel Road Buildout and Crossing Point
Citadel Road buildout and crossing point

Each ward has a small annual budget for Councillors to fund improvements to the road network. This will often involve changes to parking or installation of dropped kerbs. It can sometimes be used for larger schemes such as zebra crossings. This is usually when funding is saved for more than one year and might be between many wards.

Keep the city moving/20mph zones

This budget can be used to fund a small number of bigger schemes with:

  • traffic calming
  • zebra crossings
  • 20mph zones

It's also been used to fund “20 When the Lights Show” signs and pulsa units around schools in the city.

zebra crossing and traffic calming scheme on Roman Way in early 2020
zebra crossing and traffic calming scheme on Roman Way, early 2020

Casualty Reduction

Every  year, we undertake a review of all the road casualties that took place on the network in the last five years. This involves: 

  • Police Collision Data being analysed 
  • finding trends and designing solutions if the cause of collision was the highway 
Arial view of Millbay roundabout
Google maps - the new road layout around Millbay roundabout

The last review identified a collision cluster site at Millbay roundabout. There has been six collisions there in the last five years. Five of these collisions involved cyclists and three were serious collisions. Cyclists were travelling down the hill and straight across the roundabout without stopping.  

A scheme has now been completed. The measures introduced in this scheme have encouraged: 

  • lane discipline 
  • reduce sign clutter on the roundabout improving inter-visibility between cyclists and other drivers 
  • zebra crossings on each of the main arms of the roundabout 

Zebra crossings have: 

  • slow cyclists down 
  • provide safer crossing facilities for pupils attending Millbay Academy 

Speed management

Local Speed Limit Policy

SCARF – Speed Compliance Action Review Forum (SCARF)

SCARF factsheet
Cover of the SCARF factsheet

Plymouth City Council (PCC) and Devon and Cornwall Police (D&CP)  receive: 

  • complaints about vehicle speed 
  • requests to review speed limits  

PCC and D&CP have developed a joint procedure called SCARF. This is to: 

  • avoid duplication 
  • provide a coordinated response 
  • assess concerns in a consistent manner 


  • records its investigations
  • does not usually re-consider complaints assessed within the last three years

The five potential SCARF outcomes depend on the speeds recorded but could be:

  • 'No Action' where speeds are very low
  • enforcement by the Police and Vision Zero South West
  • engineering measures such as traffic calming
  • a mixture of educational enforcement and deployment of temporary vehicle activated signs (VAS)

Safety cameras and Vision Zero South West Partnership:

new red light-speed on green camera on Alma Road
New red light / speed on green camera on Alma Road

As part of PCC’s role in supporting the partnership: 

  • We allocate an annual maintenance budget for maintaining foliage, tree growth, signing and lining in the vicinity of the cameras. Maintenance and replacement of the cameras themselves are undertaken by the Police. 
  • We fund additional new sites when considered necessary. 

PCC has successfully installed and trialled three new red light, speed on green cameras in the city since 2019. This model is likely to become the basis of an upgrade to the entire estate of cameras over the next few years. 

Average speed cameras in Plymouth 

These cameras use Automatic Number Plate Recognition (ANPR) technology to record a date and time stamp as drivers pass between two cameras. The computer then calculates the drivers’ average speed. These cameras are successful in encouraging compliance and therefore are a good measure to reduce road casualties and maintain them at a low level.   

Average speed camera locations

A379 Billacombe Road and Elburton Road

Along the A379 Billacombe Road and Elburton Road where injury collisions have dropped to less than a third of the rate in the three-year period before their introduction. 

Gdynia Way

On Gdynia Way where average speed cameras were installed as part of the original design of the road and has kept casualties at a very low level for over a decade. 

Old Laira Road

Old Laira Road where average speed cameras were installed in April 2022 to enforce a new 20mph zone. The new system also includes a single stand-alone safety camera at the eastern end of the scheme.

There were 12 injury collisions reported by the Police in the 5 years before the scheme was introduced with two of these classed as serious. Success of the scheme is still being evaluated but over 99% of drivers using the road daily were shown to be doing so without incurring a Penalty Charge Notice (PCN) in a recent monitoring exercise.

This scheme is an alternative to more traditional traffic calming solutions which were not popular with the residents. Traffic speeds along this major route into the city centre had caused a community severance issue for residents needing to access to facilities on both sides of the road. These facilities include a:

  • pharmacy
  • a convenience store
  • a hairdresser
  • a nursery school
  • a primary school
  • a social club
  • a community centre
  • a place of worship or just wishing to visit a neighbour who lives on the other side of the road.
Fort Austin 20mph When The Lights Show
Example of a 20mph When The Lights Show sign and flashing pulsa unit on Fort Austin

20mph speed limits, zones and advisory signs

20mph speed limits are on roads where average speeds are already low (below 24mph). This will be because of the road layout and the environment that encourage low speed. Police enforcement should not normally be required. 

20mph zones should be where the road network is designed to make vehicles travel slower. Enforcement in 20mph zones is not a normal police activity as any 20mph zone has to be self-enforcing. 

20mph 'when the lights show' are advisory signs with flashing pulsas near schools. Drivers are advised follow the speed limit when the lights show at the start and the end of the school day. 

Phase 1 (completed in 2020)

School name Signage location
Woodview Super Campus Lancaster Gardens
Woodford Primay and Hele's School Larkham Lane
Goosewell School Goosewell Park Road
Elburton Primary School Springfield Road
Devonport High School for Boys Paradise Road
St Matthews Primary Brest Road and William Prance Road
Holy Cross Primary Ebrington Street
Manadon Vale St Peter's Road
Oakwood Primary Southway Drive
High View Primary Torridge Way
College Road Primary College Road and St Levan Road
Eggbuckland Vale Church Hill 
Millbay Academy Millbay Road, Martin Street and Sawrey Street
Stoke Damerel Primary Collingwood Road and South Hill

Phase 2 (completed in 2022)

School name Signage location
Compton Primary School Eggbuckland Road
Stuart Road Primary school Palmerston Road and Stuart Road
Hyde Park Infant and Junior School Hyde Park Road and Hermitage Road
Wood View Learning Community Budshead Road
Coombe Dean School Wembury Road and Reservoir Road
Ford primary school Melville Road
Plymstock School Church Road and Stentaway Road
St Budeaux Foundation Kings Tamerton Road
Woodfield Primary School Taunton Avenue
Stoke Damerel Community College  Molesworth Road and Somerset Place
Old Priory Junior Academy Ridgeway
Pennycross Primary School Ham Drive and Recreation Road
Keyham Barton Catholic Primary School Renown Street and Ocean Street
St Joseph's Catholic Primary School Chapel Street
UTC Plymouth Saltash Road
ACE Schools Multi Academy Trust Bretonside
St Mary Church of England VA Infant School Market Road

Phase 3 (in progress)

Funding is now available to install new 20mph When The Lights Show signs and pulsa units near schools this year.