A plan to ban cars and lorries from Edinburgh's Princes Street during the day could be in place within two years.
Princes Street is Edinburgh's main thoroughfare
A public inquiry into traffic management proposals for the centre of Edinburgh was broadly in favour of a scheme put forward by the city council.
However, the council has agreed to water down its plan for a complete ban and is now set only to prohibit cars between 0700 and 2000 each day.
Cars and lorries are already forbidden from travelling east along Princes Street and the council wanted to extend the ban to westbound traffic.
It believes that removing some of the traffic from the street will improve the city centre for residents, shoppers and workers.
An inquiry into the council's plan by two Scottish Executive civil servants has recommended that westbound cars and lorries be allowed to use the street between 2000 and 0700.
Under the plan, which attracted 600 objections, buses, taxis and cyclists would continue to use the street freely and the pavement on the south side would be widened.
Critics believe congestion will be shifted to other parts of the city such as Queen Street in the New Town.
They said that some of the re-routing involved in the project would have an adverse impact on bus services and pedestrians.
In their written findings, the reporters said the adverse effects of the changes would be "moderate".
They added: "We're satisfied that there would likely be a net benefit for
road safety, with an overall reduction in accidents."
Council leader Donald Anderson said the outcome of the public inquiry was
He added: "Residents, visitors and workers will all benefit from this
programme of investment and improvements."
The plans were the second stage of the council's Central Edinburgh Traffic
Management (CETM) scheme, the first phase of which saw the eastbound ban imposed