Speed limits of 30 km/h (20 mph save lives). Since the first 30-kmh zone was established as a pilot project in the small German town of Buxtehude in 1983, numerous 20-mph zones throughout Europe have proven to be beneficial. Wherever these zones are installed, the number and the severity of accidents is reduced considerably.
Limiting vehicles to 20 mph/30 kmh reduces traffic noise. The German Council of Environmental Advisors (SRU) states that the level of noise reduction through a 20 mph speed limit is 3 dbA, which makes a real difference.
A limit of 20 mph/30 kmh in all residential areas improves air quality, as far fewer exhaust gases are emitted, making an important contribution to general healthcare.
A 20 mph/30 kmh limit in all residential areas can help mitigate climate change, as a lower speed means less CO2 emissions. Additionally, it ensures a more constant traffic flow with less congestion and traffic jams and makes activities such as cycling, walking and using the bus or train much more enjoyable. This in turn, encourages people to take up such pursuits, thereby providing an even greater reduction in greenhouse gas emissions. What is very important for us: these effects will automatically help reducing the oil dependency of the European Union.
A calmer mobility culture in the whole town encourages manufacturers to adapt the car motors to a more easy-going driving behaviour instead of fast speed-ups as main priority.
Our goal: 20 mph / 30 kmh to be the standard European speed limit for residential areas – and no longer limited to single zones.
The whole town, indeed the whole area will benefit. However, children, old people and those with disabilities will benefit in particular, as well as all those who can only afford cheaper housing, which is often along main roads outside of any 20 mph zone.
Up to now, there have been strict legal limitations on any administration wanting to establish a 20 mph/30 kmh zone. Also, it is obvious that many people simply do not respect the zones as the 30 mph/50 kmh limit is what they are used to. Or they just don’t see the signs. Therefore, local governments are forced to invest in expensive measures when they want to introduce traffic-calming systems. However, a standard speed limit for the whole town would both make the regulations very clear and save local governments a lot of money.
Additionally, the positive effects on health and the environment would increase and the external costs of transport would decrease in general.
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