Yerevan authorities reduce urban speed limits to save lives

Armenia, News, Road Safety Governance and Capacity Building

Last November, within the framework of our work with the European Bank for Reconstruction and Development (EBRD) and the City of Gyumri to improve road safety, and with additional support from the Global Alliance of NGOs for Road Safety and FedEx, our local partners, National Road Safety Council NGO hosted a roundtable event in Yerevan focusing on the WHO Save LIVES package aim of speed management.

Armenia’s cities have relatively high speed-limits with many areas exceeding the WHO recommended maximum urban speed limit of 50 km/h or 30 km/h in residential areas.

The Roundtable therefore brought together the National Road Safety Council, the local authorities of both Gyumri and Yerevan, the Ministry of Transport and the Republican Road Police to propose a pilot speed reduction 10km/h, i.e. instead of 60 km/h in urban areas reduce it to 50 km/h, and instead of 40 km/h reduce it to 30km/h near schools and hospitals. In addition, new approaches to reducing the speeds through traffic calming such as speed humps were discussed with the authorities.

By the end of the Roundtable, the local authorities made a commitment to act. Last month, on 18th July, these speed limit reductions came into effect in Yerevan. Maximum urban speed limits of 70km/h have been reduced by law by 10km/h. Now the highest speed in the city is 60km/h. This is of course not the desired goal, but undoubtably this is the first step towards the reduction of speeds in the city. The impact of this speed reduction will be monitored in relation to road casualty rates with a view to reducing all speed limits by 10km/h across the whole country, including reducing limits around schools, universities and hospitals from 40km/h to the WHO recommended 30km/h.

While continuing to advocate for lower speeds nationwide, NRSC are now also looking at engineering solutions with the road police and municipalities in Yerevan and Gyumri to address road safety black spots at two specific sites in each city. These sites will too act as a pilot to demonstrate the impact that safer road infrastructure can have on road casualty rates. The ultimate aim is to change road construction norms in Armenia according to the Safe System approach.