Lower urban speed limits accrue many benefits

Slowing down shown to result in fewer traffic fatalities

Re: Victoria revs up speed limit debate (vicnews.com, Jan. 18)

Bravo to Victoria for taking the lead on this important initiative. While there have been many negative comments on lowering speeds, the public doesn’t seem to be aware of the benefits to be had.

Rather than increasing congestion, studies done in areas where the speed has been lowered to 30 km/h have shown an increase in the efficiency of traffic flow. More vehicles can get through a given area in the same amount of time.

The average individual urban journey takes no more than one minute longer. That is because most of one’s time in an urban setting is spent waiting at intersections.

A lower speed has a dramatic effect on fatalities, with the probability of death dropping from roughly 80 per cent if struck at 50 km/h to in the range of 10 per cent at 30 km/h.

There are many other benefits: lower traffic noise, lower pollution, lower vehicle maintenance costs, less stress. And it encourages more people to use the streets for walking and cycling, which in turn means more walk-by traffic for local businesses. It’s a win-win for everyone.

Bob Etheridge