Lowering Speed Limits Saves Lives

Lowering Speed Limits Saves Lives

Vox.com is one of the newer online news outlets and they cover a range of topics.  Over the last week, however, they’ve run pieces focused on a few New Urbanist trends around the country.  One particularly striking image highlights how much public space we turn over to cars – and, therefore, how little is left for the rest of us. To see that, click here.

But, an even more fascinating article is entitled, “New York City lowered its speed limit to 25. Other cities should do it, too.”  We’ve made much of the fact that Rockville Pike through White Flint has a speed limit of 40, where the same road transitions to 25mph a few miles south in downtown Bethesda.  Not only do these changes foster the perception of a safer pedestrian environment – they actually are safer for pedetrians.  As the Vox.com piece highlights, a pedestrian would have a 95% chance of survival if struck by a car traveling 20mph, as opposed to a 15% chance of survival if struck by a car traveling at 40mph.  Lower speed also reduce the number of car accidents and the severity of those that occur.

London has reduced many of its speed limits to 20mph and here’s what they’ve found:

And their findings were unambiguous. For drivers, pedestrians, and cyclists, casualties (a category that includes both deaths and injuries) dropped by 41.9 percent in the new speed zones compared to other areas, with all the new zones leading to 203 fewer annually in total. Deaths declined by 35.1 percent, with 27 fewer annually.

Read the full piece by clicking here and let us know what you think.

Lindsay Hoffman


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