Tuesday 21 September 2021
 
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ANALYSIS

Cutting road speeds boosts sustainable mobility: WB

WASHINGTON, 12 days ago

Reducing road speeds represent a major yet under-appreciated opportunity not only to improve road safety and save lives but also promote sustainable mobility, the World Bank said in a new report.

Benefits also include increased efficiency and inclusion, according to the new publication titled “Road Crash Trauma, Climate Change, Pollution and the Total Costs of Speed: Six graphs that tell the story” by the World Bank’s Global Road Safety Facility (GRSF).

The report sheds light on common misunderstanding of the impacts of speed on road safety, congestion, pollution, and the cost of travel.

Well-established evidence in the note makes a stronger case for lowering speed to be one of the most effective ways to enhance road safety. For example, a one percent increase in speed results in a 3.5 to 4-percent increase in deaths.

It finds that applying lower speed limits might make more economic sense. Analyses of higher speeds often focus only on the benefits of saving travel time and omit critical economic costs in the form of crashes, emissions, fuel, and vehicle maintenance.

Meanwhile, several studies show that in high-income countries, travel speeds which are economically optimal are lower than expected and typically lower than the posted speed limits.

“We understand that there is a strong need for evidence-based and targeted interventions to improve road safety in Vietnam,” said Rahul Kitchlu, the World Bank Acting Country Director for Vietnam. “We hope that policy makers can leverage this publication to develop measures that work, especially as the country is preparing an updated version of the National Road Safety Strategy and Action Plan.”

The note argues that rather than relying on enforcement alone, a combination of vehicle policies, road design, and engineering would allow for a stronger, more sustainable, and often more politically viable strategy for speed management.

The note also highlights other benefits fundamental to sustainable mobility associated with lower speeds. They include reduced climate change impacts of road transport, increased efficiency (fuel and vehicle maintenance), improved inclusion, and walkability. – TradeArabia News Service




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