02 June 2009

Copenhagen Gets Up To Speed By Lowering It

Bryggebroen Backlight
In a post about a year ago we highlighted initiatives in other European cities to encourage cleaner air and lower speeds.

It appears that Copenhagen is finally getting up to speed. The city is planning to create a 40 km/h zone in the city, as well as restricting trucks to drive on limited, specific routes. All in an effort to increase traffic safety.

Danish and international studies show that lower speed limits work. There are fewer accidents and the ones that occur are less serious. When the speed limit falls, pedestrians and cyclists feel safer, too.

The Mayor for the Environmental and Technical Administration, Klaus Bondam, says, "A 40 km/h zone in Copenhagen is a relatively drastic step that we in the administration must decide to take. For me it's about finding a solution that is effective so we avoid trucks barrelling through high density bicycle areas and residential neighbourhoods. At the same time we must acknowledge that we are a large city and that makes a lot of the transport necessary. It's a tough balancing act but I believe many of the proposals are extremely good."

The strategy contains 12 different initiatives that include deciding which kind of trucks the city itself will use, a 'red route net' for truck traffic, ITS solutions, creation of zones with time restrictions and a law about lower cabs on trucks.

Bold stuff. We're keeping our eyes on this case.


Kevin Love said...

Toronto has fairly extensive 30 km/hr zones. Even some major arterial streets (eg Dundas) have 40 km/hr limits.

It makes for a pleasant cycling environment when cars cannot go any faster than bicycles.

Cian said...

I can't say it too often, but Dublin is ahead on this too. Dublin City Council have being looking to extend a 30km/h to include 'national' routes or the main roads in the city centre... http://www.irishtimes.com/newspaper/ireland/2009/0415/1224244720732.html

Viktor from BCN said...

30 km/h zones are also quite frequent here in Barcelona. Still, I think they are useless as nobody respects the speed limit (but that's a different problem).

Mikael said...

We have zones with lower speed limits in Copenhagen. The idea is to create a 40 km/h zone in the entire city.

Rob said...

Some residential streets in London have 20mph (c. 30km/h) zones.

Major roads however are controlled by Transport for London, who will not consider 20mph limits there - despite research that shows this would save £150m a year in reduction of accidents alone.


Moderator said...

That's really unfortunate, Rob, that London won't consider further speed reductions, even in specific instances where they are warranted. Do you have material on why that is?

Also, London has some 20km/hr zones, but they are combined with extensive traffic calming (like roads about as wide as a car, with bollards and humps). These work very well and on some of them, even right in the middle of the city, you'll find large groups of kids who feel safe enough to play right out in the street. Imagine if more of our kids could do that!

Reducing speed limits generally doesn't work unless you also design the streets in an appropriate way.