EASST survey shows 80% support for 30km/h speed limits in school zones

Active Travel and Healthy Streets, Children's Road Safety, News, Road Safety Governance and Capacity Building

This week marks the 6th UN Global Road Safety Week which is calling for 30km/h speed limits to be the new norm for cities, towns and villages worldwide. This UN Week also marks the beginning of the 2nd Decade of Action for Road Safety which is aiming to reduce road traffic deaths and injuries by 50% by 2030. Lower speeds will be vital to reaching this goal.

For EASST, this Road Safety Week marks the beginning of a new long-term project supported by the FIA Foundation’s Advocacy Hub in which we will be working towards the reduction of speed limits to 30km/h around schools and on routes to school across nine partner countries.

In the EASST region, the average speed limit around schools is set at 40km/h, and even this is frequently exceeded due to low levels of enforcement and a lack of speed management infrastructure.

Over the past couple of weeks, our EASST partners have been surveying their local communities to establish a baseline at the start of the Decade of Action on what the public feel about speeding and lowering speed limits on local urban roads, including around schools.

Analysis of the results at a regional level has found that 80% of those surveyed believe that speed limits around school zones should be 30km/h or lower. However, less than 50% would currently support making 30km/h the new normal in all urban areas.

By focusing on schools, where there is clear public support for lower speeds, we will be able to make tangible changes and, crucially, measure the benefits to build a strong evidence base for countering the myths around low speed areas more generally. For example, our survey found that a lot of people still believe that low speed areas contribute to increased congestion and vehicle emissions (40%) and longer journey times (38%) with little actual impact on reducing the frequency and severity of casualties (26%).

Our partners’ projects will seek to raise awareness on all these issues as they campaign for better enforcement, safer streets, cleaner air, an improved environment for walking and cycling, and improved infrastructure around schools. They will be working with traffic police and police data to identify high-risk schools in their cities and use global tools such as Star Ratings for Schools and the NACTO Designing Streets for Kids guide to assess and advocate for improvements, including lower speeds. 

This week, with added support from the Global Alliance of NGOs for Road Safety, the project has been launched across the region with high-level roundtable meetings promoting the benefits of 30km/h speed limits; encouraging decision makers to support and endorse the safer streets for life message; national media appearances; special police patrols; public awareness events; training for road engineers, journalists, parents; and so much more.

To support the campaign, EASST has produced a short animation calling on drivers to lower their speeds to 30km/h around school zones (see above!). Translated into 7 languages, our partners will be able to use this video locally to raise awareness of the importance of 30km/h limits. Over the next decade we will continue to monitor public opinion on issues of speed, hopefully soon we will see more people supporting 30km/h speed limits as the new normal in urban areas.

After all, low speed streets are safer, better for health, and better for the planet.

That’s why we demand #StreetsForLife #Love30