Lower Speed Limit Down to 40 Km per Hour in Urban Areas of Nova Scotia

LowerSpeed Limit Down to 40 Km per Hour in Urban Areas of Nova Scotia

LowerSpeed Limit Down to 40 Km per Hour in Urban Areas in Nova Scotia


Droppingthe speed limit to 40 km per hour in the city of Winnipeg

Manycities in Canada are struggling to reduce the death rate ofpedestrians as well as the number of road accidents that occurringwithin the cities on a daily basis. The City of Winnipeg hasconsidered reduced the speed limit of all automobiles to at most 40km per hour from initial speed limit of 50 km per hour. Dan Vandal,the chair of the Public Works Committee, introduced the idea in early2015 after hearing the complaints from the health care staff workingin the health care facilities within the city. The health carefacilities in the city has been receiving 140 pedestrians andcyclists on average per day, where about 25 % of pedestrians hit bycars travelling at 50 km per hour have higher chances of dying(Gerwing, 2014). However, the city leadership has one more challengeto overcome the driving habit has not changed in spite of the factthat the speed limit signs have been changed.

Loweringthe speed limit to 40 km per hour in Toronto

Theleadership of Toronto, similar to other cities in Canada, isconcerned about the death tolls that are attributed to speedingautomobiles. Lowering the speed limit has been an ongoing debate inCanada, where the limit was lowered to 60 km per hour in commercialstreets and 50 km per hour in residential streets in 2010 (McKeown,2012). However, the new speed limits were still high enough to causedeaths within the city. It was reported that an average of 20pedestrians dies and 2,050 road users are injured every year sincethe introduction of the new speed limits. The general manager of thetransport department, Andy Koropeski, suggested a further decrease inthe speed limit to 40 km per hour in 2015 in order to reduce thenumber of annual deaths and injuries. While defending the new speedlimit, Koropeski states that road users are likely to sustain lesssevere injuries and less likely to die when an automobile is movingat 40 km per hour compared to when it is moving at 509 km per hour.Although the low speed was expected to reduce the number of deathsand injuries sustained by the road users, a very low speed limit hasdeclined the efficiency of the transport system in Toronto.

Locationsin Nova Scotia with low speed limits

Differenttownships in Nova Scotia have been developing at a high rate whereresidential and commercial buildings are being built along thehighways and other busy roads. Although development is a positiveprocess, the high population density that comes with thesedevelopment projects has increased the number of road accidents inthe province of Nova Scotia. This motivated the leadership of theprovince to request the Transport and Infrastructure Renewal (TIP)board to starting approving the speed limit postings that were below50 km per hour in the year 2012 (Committee on Road Safety, 2014). Thenew speed limit was based on the recommendations or a researchconducted by RSAC, which stated that provincial governments should beallowed to post speed limits of 40 km per hour as long as they adhereto sound education, engineering, and enforcement.

Theprovince of Nova Scotia launched a pilot project to test theeffectiveness of the proposed 40 km per hour speed limit in severalsections. The Halifax Municipality is among the regions that hadlocations that met the criteria of being posted with the 40 km perhour signs. Its Ben Jackson Road’s speed limit was lowered from 60km per hour to 40 km per hour (Heseltine &amp Flower, 2014). Themain reasons for lowering the speed limit along Ben Jackson Road wasthe existence of a curve that has a radius of about 70 meters. Otherregions of the Halifax municipality would be assigned the low speedlimits depending on other factors, such as the population size (Hird,2014).

Themunicipality of Annapolis Royal also had road sections that qualifiedto be assigned a driving speed limit of 40 km per hour. For example,the speed limit on the upper side of the St. George Street waslowered to 40 km per hour from 50 km (CRS, 2014). Although themunicipality stated that lowering the speed limit would reduce carbonemission, it is evident that the growing population in the region isendangered by the speeding vehicles. A similar reduction in the speedlimit (below 50 km per hour) was instituted in the municipality ofAntigonish with the objective of reducing road accidents (Brown,2015). Moreover, different school areas have also been posted withspeed limit of 40 km per hour or 30 km per hour depending on how busythey are (Province of Nova Scotia, 2013). However, speed limits inthe school areas are only observed during the school days.

Theauthorities in Nova Scotia selected the low speed (40 km per hour)zones on the bases of the physical characteristics of each section ofthe road. Some of these characteristics include the width of thelane, vertical alignment, percentage of heavy vehicles, the presenceof a large number of pedestrians, presence of sidewalk, adjacent landuses, and the number of cyclists using a given section of the road(Hird, 2014). Apart from these physical characteristics, theauthorities determined the speed limit using the criteria provided bythe Manual on Uniform Traffic Control Design. MUTCD recommends thatthat speed limit should be determined at plus or minus 8 km per hour(5 mph) of the 85thpercentile speed (Hird, 2014). This implies that the most appropriatespeed for each section of the road is the one that allows 85 % of thevehicles to move at the set speed and the remaining number ofvehicles to move at a speed that is slightly above the set value.

Althoughthe leadership and residents of Nova Scotia expressed their supportfor the reduction in the speed limits, non-compliance by themotorists has hindered the realization of the goals of this nobleinitiative. According to Hird (2014) the law enforcers feel that anyreduction in the speed limit by 10 km per hour adds an unnecessaryburden on them, which increases tolerance among the law enforcementagencies. Consequently, many motorists ignore the speed limits andend up causing accidents that would have been avoided if the setspeed limit was observed. Therefore, lowering the speed limit to 40km per hour should be followed by adequate supervision in order toprotect pedestrians from over-speeding vehicles.

Inconclusion, the primary objective of lowering the speed limits to 40km per hour in several sections of Nova Scotia was to reduce thenumber of road accidents that are attributed to over-speedingvehicles. Pilot projects for the low speed limited are conductedmostly in the densely populated residential areas and busy streets indifferent municipalities. However, lack of compliance is a majordrawback in all located where the effectiveness of the lower speedlimit in reducing the number road accidents has been tested.


Brown,E. (2015). Drivertraining school.Merigomish, NS: Highland Multimedia.

Committeeon Road Safety (2014). Lowposted speed limit study: Report and recommendation to the deputyminister.Halifax: Nova Scotia.

Gerwing,M. (2014). City considers idea of dropping residential speed limits.BennMedia.Retrieved June 24, 2015, fromhttp://winnipeg.ctvnews.ca/city-considers-idea-of-dropping-residential-speed-limits-1.951751

Heseltine,J. &amp Flower, P. (2014). Glooscaplanding feasibility study: Final feasibility report.Halifax: Stantec.

Hird,R. (2014). NovaScotia transportation infrastructure renewal.Halifax: TIR.

McKeown,D. (2012, April 24). Lower Toronto speed limits by 10 to 20 km perhour protect pedestrians, chief medical officer says. CityHall.Retrieved June 24, 2015, fromhttp://www.thestar.com/news/city_hall/2012/04/24/lower_toronto_speed_limits_by_10_to_20_kmh_to_protect_pedestrians_chief_medical_officer_says.html

Provinceof Nova Scotia (2013). Safer school zone Q &amp A. Provinceof Nova Scotia.Retrieved June 24, 2015, fromhttp://novascotia.ca/tran/roadsafety/schoolzonesafetyq&ampa.asp