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Safer roads

Local safety schemes

The Traffic Management team manages several annual budgets used to improve road safety and the road network.

Minor schemes: this budget is used for smaller schemes usually costing less than £5,000 which aim to improve access or solve traffic management issues. These schemes include pedestrian dropped crossings, changes to lining, provision of bollards, one way streets or width restrictions and signing improvements.

dropped crossing point at Steer Park Road

Photo: dropped crossing point on Steer Park Road

Living Streets:  Every ward in the city has a small annual budget allocated for ward Councillors to fund small improvements to the road network. This will often involve changes to parking or installation of dropped kerbs but will sometimes also be used for larger schemes such as zebra crossings where the funding is saved for more than one year and potentially between more than one ward. In the current financial year, the allocated funding for a ward with three Councillors is £6,725, and for a ward with two Councillors is £4,483. 

Citadel Road Buildout and Crossing Point

Photo: Citadel Road buildout and crossing point

Keep the city moving/20mph zones: This budget can be used to fund a small number of slightly bigger schemes where traffic calming, zebra crossings and 20mph zones are required. The budget has also funded a programme of “20 When Light Show” signs and pulsa units around schools throughout the city.

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

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

Casualty Reduction: Every year, the team undertakes a review of all the road casualties that took place on the network in the last five years. Police Collision Data is analysed and the team looks to establish trends and design potential solutions where the cause of the collisions might be attributed to the Highway.

During the last review, the team was able to identify a collision cluster site at Millbay roundabout where there have been six collisions in the last five years. Five of these collisions involved cyclists and three were serious collisions. There is an issue there with cyclists travelling down the hill and straight across the roundabout without stopping. A scheme design has now been prepared for construction. The measures introduced in this scheme will encourage lane discipline, reduce sign clutter on the roundabout to improve inter-visibility between cyclists and other drivers, and zebra crossings on each of the main arms of the roundabout. This last element will not only slow cyclists down but also provide safer crossing facilities for pupils attending Millbay Academy.

Speed management

SCARF – Speed Compliance Action Review Forum (SCARF)

Plymouth City Council (PCC) and Devon and Cornwall Police (D&CP) regularly receive complaints regarding vehicle speed and requests to review speed limits. To avoid duplication and to provide a coordinated response, PCC and D&CP have developed a joint procedure, called SCARF, to assess the concerns in a consistent manner.

SCARF factsheet

Image: cover of the SCARF factsheet

SCARF keeps records of its investigations and will not normally re-consider complaints that have been assessed within the last three-year period. The five potential SCARF outcomes depend on the speeds recorded and range from 'No Action' where speeds are very low, to enforcement by the Police and Vision Zero South West, but also engineering measures such as traffic calming. Often a mixture of educational enforcement and deployment of temporary vehicle activated signs (VAS) is used to remind drivers to moderate their speed.

Safety cameras and Vision Zero South West Partnership:

As part of PCC’s role in supporting the partnership, we allocate an annual budget for both maintaining and replacing the existing safety camera stock on our network and also fund additional sites where considered necessary.

PCC has successfully trialed two new red light/speed on green cameras in the city since 2019 and this model will potentially become the basis of an upgrade to the entire partnership estate of cameras over the next few years.

There are plans to install in January 2022 two further cameras replacing one at the Cott Hill/Plymouth Road junction in Plympton and one to support a new signal junction at Charlton Rd/Tavistock Rd.

new red light-speed on green camera on Alma Road

Photo: new red light / speed on green camera on Alma Road

Average Speed Cameras in Plymouth

These cameras use Automatic Number Plate Reading (ANPR) digital technology to record a date and time stamp as you pass between two cameras, enabling the computer to calculate your average speed.

Four average speed cameras were installed on Billacombe Road and Elburton Road in 2020 to encourage drivers to comply with the new 30mph speed limit.

Upgraded average speed cameras with new LED infrared equipment were placed up along Gdynia Way in 2018.

20mph speed limits, zones and advisory signs

20mph speed limits are appropriate 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 introduced where the road network has been engineered to ensure 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 that are placed nearby schools. Drivers are advised to comply with the speed limit when the lights show at the start and the end of the school day.

This scheme was funded by the Emergency Active Travel grant that Plymouth received in 2020. During phase 1 of the scheme, new signs and pulsas were placed nearby 14 schools. Phase 2 will focus on 17 new sites and started in September 2021.

Fort Austin 20mph When The Lights Show

Photo: example of a 20mph When The Lights Show sign and flashing pulsa unit on Fort Austin

Phase 1 (completed)

School nameLocation of signage
Woodview Super CampusLancaster Gardens
Woodford Primay and Hele's SchoolLarkham Lane
Goosewell SchoolGoosewell Park Road
Elburton Primary SchoolSpringfield Road
Devonport High School for BoysParadise Road
St Matthews PrimaryBrest Road and William Prance Road
Holy Cross PrimaryEbrington Street
Manadon ValeSt Peter's Road
Oakwood PrimarySouthway Drive
High View PrimaryTorridge Way
College Road PrimaryCollege Road and St Levan Road
Eggbuckland ValeChurch Hill 
Millbay AcademyMillbay Road, Martin Street and Sawrey Street
Stoke Damerel PrimaryCollingwood Road and South Hill

Phase 2 (in progress)

Schools name

Location of signage

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


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


St Mary Church of England VA Infant School

Market Road