Lower Speed Limit Down to 40km


Project Topic: Lower SpeedLimit Down to 40km per Hour in Urban Area In Nova ScotiaCase StudiesReport

By Sarah Lee

Speed limit in the transportindustry is not a new phenomenon, and they are laws and by laws thatlimit the speed of vehicles at a specific stretch of roads. Majorityof countries around the world have speed limits on all roads or onspecific roads. Moreover, majority of the speed limit rules apply inhighly populated areas such as urban centers and residential areas.Other speed limits might also apply in some regions with higherpopulation of animals along the roads. Although most of speed limitlaws set the maximum speed, there are some instances where the lawmay set minimum speed limit. Road signs are used to indicate speedlimits. In some cases, the speed limit law or by laws is not strict(Lund, 2007). There are many reasons why speed limits laws can benecessary in Halifax region, and there are many reasons why it makessense to implement speed limits laws is because they have worked inother cities and nations. Otherwise, the most important impact is thesignificant reduction in road accident as a result of speed limits.

Speed limits have existed sincethe steam engine error in the 19thcentury where the United Kingdom set the maximum speed at 10kilometers per hour. However, it is important to note that thereasoning behind the speed limit could have been different from themodern speed limits reasoning. In the 19thcentury, technology advancement in the transport industry was atinfant stages therefore, the lawmaker could not image a huge machinetraveling at a relatively high speed. This means that a speed of 10kilometer per hour could be a low speed when modern technology isconsidered, but could be a very high speed when the 19thcentury technology is used. In the modern technology, speed limitsare aimed at increasing safety on the road rather than technologylimitations. However, it is important to note that some roads indifferent parts of the world have no speed limits, while others haverelatively high speed limits (Elvik, 2012).

Speed limits on roads indifferent parts of the world are put for different reasons. The mostcommon reasoning for speed limits is to increase safety on the road.There is a common believe that reasonable speed limit cansignificantly reduce traffic accidents and associated casualties.There are numerous case studies and researches in different parts ofthe world they indicate the speed limits have a significant impacton road safety as well as deaths and injuries resulting from trafficcollisions and other road accidents. According to the world healthorganization (WHO), speed limit is one of the most importantinterventions that can reduce road accidents and associated death inthe world. The WHO estimated that over 1.2 million people dieannually as a result of road accidents (World Health Organization,2015). In fact, speed limits have several impacts on road safety andthe transport industry in general. A higher speed results higherimpacts of accidents such as collision this will have a significantimpact on the number of casualties or injuries. At relatively lowerspeed, the drive is in a better control of the vehicle, they havetimes to react to an incident, and thus the risk of accident is low.Although it does not eliminate road accidents due to other factorssuch as condition of roads, faulty vehicle and the condition of otherdrivers and road users, the impact of accident is relatively less.Less impact of accident reduces the severity of injuries and damageto the vehicle. In addition, speed limits increase efficiency in thetransport industry by calming the traffic especially in busy citiesand reducing environmental pollution such as noise gas emission andvibrations. (Elvik, 2012)

There are several casesin which speed limits have resulted into reduced incidences ofaccidents and casualties.

The United States

In the US, there are severalincidences where speed limits have indicated significance reductionin traffic accident incidences. A good example is New Jersey Tumpike,where speed limits and determined by the weather condition,construction activities as well as the conditions of the traffic.Since 1970s, officers have used the positive impacts of the variablespeed limit to justify speed limits. As a result of significantreduction in road accidents as a result of speed limits. There arenumerous roads in the US, which are subject to speed limit. Forexample, during winter, roads such as Interstate 80 and interstate 90have speed limits (Appendix A). This was motivated by a trafficaccident involving up to 99 vehicles in 1990 which was directlyattributed to poor visibility due to bad weather, mainly fog. Sincethe introduction of weather dictated speed limits, incidences ofcollision associated with poor visibility have reduced significantly(Saha &amp Young, 2014).

The United Kingdom

Although study indicates thatspeed limits in the UK are not followed strictly, it has huge impactson the number of traffic accidents. In addition, speed limit lawshave existed in the country since 1930s. For example, in regionswhere the aim of the speed limit is to calm the traffic due to hightraffic, motorized, non-motorized and pedestrians, a reduction ofspeed limit by ten miles per hour can reduce the number of accidentincluding children pedestrians and cyclists by up to 70 percent. As aresult, while the speed limit in motorways and dual carriageways inthe UK is 70 miles per hour, the speed limit in populous areas is 30miles per hour. Research in the UK indicates that at 60 miles perhours, the death rate of drivers due to a result of the collision are90 percent if the speed is reduced to 50 miles per hour, the deathrate of the drivers would be reduces to 65 percent. Furthermore,there are 14 percent of collisions are attributed to drivers not payattention to speed limits (Grahame, 2004).


Australia also haseffective speed limit laws that range between 10 kilometers per hourto 130 kilometers per hour. Studies indicate that speed limits inAustralia are not only effective in reducing speed on the highwaysbut also result into significant reduction in the number of roadaccidents as well as the severity of road collision. A reduction inspeed limit results in reduced speeds on the roads, especially inpopulous areas which is an overall reduction in the number ofaccident (Elvik, 2012).

Rheinland-Pfalz&nbspGermanycase study

A speed limit of 130km/h wasintroduced in Rheinland-Pfalz&nbspin Germany in order to reduce thefatalities in the severe injuries from accidents. The speed limit wasenforced on a stretch of 167 kilometres. The speed limit was combinedwith a ban on overtaking by heavy good vehicles. The introduction andenforcement of the speed limit had significant results. In an ETSCreport where the case was cited, it was found that there introductionof the speed limit reduced fatalities and severe injuries by 30% (TheGuardian, 2014).This is a testimony that indeed speed limits do work and areefficient especially in cities and residential areas or in placeswhere there are schools, churches and other institutions. Thefatality and injury severity levels were compared one year before thespeed limit and one year after the speed limit. It is evidently clearthat the outcome is positive. The speed limit that was introduced in1991 has been retained till today owing to its tremendous results(TheGuardian, 2014).The effects of reducing speed in major roads and minor roads inresidential areas are indeed positive and commendable.

The speed limits in this citywere introduced for the same reason that Halifax introduced the speedlimits the reduction of fatalities and severe injuries in case of anaccident. The outcomes in both cases are the same. There was anotable reduction in fatalities and severe accident injuries. Thereis a common argument that drivers in both cases are able to reacttimely and therefore reduce the severity of the accidents. There is aclear relationship between the two cases since both have similarobjectives and the results were the same in both.

Dublin city speed limit

The speed limit in the city ofDublin in Ireland is 30 km/h. The city’s management has said thatthe speed limit is aimed at making the city safe for all peopleincluding cyclists and pedestrians. The limit targets the retailareas and business areas across the city (The Irish Times, 2010).These are areas that are frequented by numerous people during the dayand also at night. Therefore, the speed limit has been madeoperational 24/7 in the city. The new limit is a reduction from50km/h which was the limit previously. The city council of Dublincarried out research and found out that the new speed limits willreduce fatalities, especially for the pedestrians by 40%. Researchconducted by the city council indicated that pedestrians hit by avehicle at the speed of 50km/h have a 45% likelihood of dying whileonly 5% of pedestrians hit by a car at a speed of 30km/h are likelyto die (The Irish Times, 2010). This is an indication that thereduction of the speeds at the city center will significantly reducefatalities and injuries. According to the case study, move by thecity council was opposed by a few people but it was ultimately rolledout.

Ireland has had speed limits forall motorists across the world at 100 kilometres per hour. The speedlimits vary according to the region and the area that a driver is.Presence of pedestrians and cyclists also contribute to changes inspeed limits (The Irish Times, 2010). However, the primary objectiveof the speed limits is to reduce fatalities and severe injuries onthe roads. This is the same case in Halifax region where speed limitsare aimed at reducing fatalities and severe injuries. Therelationship between Halifax and Dublin is that the speed limits areboth enforced in areas where there are numerous people who includepedestrians.

Christchurch zone in NewZealand

This is a region that has over30 schools and has a speed limit of 40 kilometres per hour. The speedlimit was enforced in the year 2000 and the results have beentremendous. The objective of the speed limits was to reducefatalities and injuries to students during school going and leavingtimes (Wayne, 2001). The speed limits were also put to encourageparents to have their children walk to school or cycle to school. Inthis regard, the safety of the children needed to be guaranteedespecially in the morning and evening when there is immense trafficon the roads. The flashing 40 kilometres per hour speed signs werealso meant to alert the driver of the presence of children on theroad. This ensured that the driver was alert and would respond in atimely manner if a child was to close the road abruptly in front ofthe car. The speed limit enforcement was only enforced in the urbanand sub urban school areas (Wayne, 2001). Additionally, the speedlimit was enforced during the morning hours and evening hours whenthe children were leaving school. However, due to the effectivenessof the speed limit in reducing accidents, fatalities and injuries,the speed limit was proposed to be enforced 24/7.

The speed limit at Halifaxregion had similar objectives to the speed limits at Christchurch.The primary objective for both of them was to reduce accidents,deaths and injuries from speeding vehicles. However, the 40kilometres per hour speed limit in Christchurch was aimed atprotecting the children who walk and cycle to school (Wayne, 2001).The two speed limit zones are also similar or related in that theyboth resulted in a reduction of fatalities and severe injuriesresulting from road accidents. It is evident that the two regions arehighly populated areas which are either urban or sub-urban areas.


The aspect of speed limits hasbeen there for decades since the times of steam engine trains.Whereas the overall aim of speed limiting is to reduce deathsresulting from accidents, some speed limits are enforced due to someother reasons. Since the time of steam engine trains, the speedlimits have been increased due to increasing technology. It is arguedthat the reductions of speed in various cities and residential areasacross the world have resulted in significant reductions in deathsand severe injuries. It is evidently clear from research that most ofthe speed limits are mainly enforced in urban centres and sub urbancentres where there are numerous people. Areas with pedestrians andcyclists are more prone to accidents caused by speeding cars.Speeding cars are likely to knock down pedestrians and cyclists hencethe speed limit in areas where there are numerous pedestrians andcyclists.

The World Health Organizationhas been in the frontline advocating for the enhancement of speedlimits both in urban and residential areas, as well as on majorhighways. Countries such as Kenya and Ireland have speed limits inall highways of 80 kilometres per hour. These limits have beenattributed to the significant reduction of road accidents and deaths.Speed limits have also been introduced in areas where there areschools and churches. These are areas that are frequented by peopleespecially in the morning and evening. Drivers are alerted of thepresence of students or church goers. Speed limits have also been inurban centers for purposes of reducing and controlling traffic. Theselimits are only applied in area where there are numerous cars. It isworth stating that there are some roads in some cities in the worldsuch as Germany, where there are no speed limits. The debatecontinues on whether speed limits indeed reduce roads accidents.


Wayne, O. (2001). Theeffect on vehicle speeds of electronically-signed part-time speedlimits outside schools.

The Irish Times. (2010). Dublincentre speed limits lowered.Retrieved from: http://www.irishtimes.com/news/dublin-centre-speed-limits-lowered-1.852411

The Guardian.(2014). Dospeed limits reduce the number of road deaths?Retrieved from: http://www.theguardian.com/news/datablog/2013/may/13/speed-limits-reduce-number-road- deaths