Julian Ferguson, ECF, Road Safety, 23/11/2012
A new international report urges policy makers to implement 30 km/h zones among other measures.
The world’s leading think tank on transport policy, the International Transport Forum (ITF), is recommending cities to establish traffic calming measures and 30 km/h zones. Their report, which looks at ways to improve pedestrian safety, was prepared by a working group of transport experts and urban planners from 19 countries.
According to their research, reducing speeds from 50 km/h to 30 km/h could reduce the risk of pedestrian deaths by 80%. Authors point to lower speeds as the key to improving pedestrian safety.
“Pedestrians are amongst the road users most vulnerable to traffic injury,” explains ITF road safety expert Véronique Feypell de la Beaumell.
Pedestrians make up an estimated third of annual global road deaths, with over 400,000 fatalities recorded per year.
“It has become highly challenging, especially for older people and children, to cope with the complex, sometimes hostile, traffic conditions that characterise today’s cities and town,” adds Beaumell.
Other recommendations made by the report include creating incentives for employees to walk and cycle to work, developing car free areas and giving more space to non-motorised traffic in city centres.
According to ECF’s urban mobility expert, Martti Tulenheimo, implementing 30 km/h zones could drastically increase the number of people cycling.
“30 km/h zones can play a big role in a cycling city. When it’s implemented as part of a cycling network, they make cycling safer, and they make cyclists feel safer. If people feel safe, then they’re going to cycle more often,” explains Tulenheimo.
He adds: “At the end of the day, it’s not just about cycling or walking. It’s about being able to live and breathe in a city where you don’t have to feel intimidated by traffic. Cities should be all about people.”
The ITF report also builds on an official European Parliament recommendation for 30 km/h zones in all urban and built up areas in Europe.