Road safety measures, particularly 30 km/h zones, have increased the perceived security among residents and visitors of three main neighbourhoods in Donostia-San Sebastian’s city centre.
The municipality of Donostia-San Sebastian has signed a civic Road Safety Pact with 35 local organisations working on mobility. Based on this pact, the city put in place a number of road safety measures. One of them aimed to promote driving patterns that are more respectful towards non-motorised users. This was supposed to reduce the perceived risk especially of cycling as cyclists share the road with motorised traffic. Three main neighbourhoods in the city centre (Antiguo, Centro and Gros) saw the implementation or enlargement of 30 km/h zones. In addition, physical elements were introduced to prevent speeding. The action was complemented by awareness-raising campaigns. One year after the implementation of the 30 km/h zones, the feeling of security has increased. According to a public perception survey conducted by the municipality as part of the CIVITAS project evaluation, citizens ranked the level of safety with an average score of 6.7 out of 10. The perceived security has also increased among cyclists in these neighbourhoods: 70 percent believe that the city is safe for cycling following the implementation of CIVITAS road safety measures. This increased perception of safety has been driven by a significant reduction in average speed in the affected areas. During peak hours, speed was reduced by 8 to 3 km/h in the affected neighbourhoods. In Gros, for example, a small 30 km/h zone already existed and average speed was already low. Therefore achievements in terms of speed reduction are moderate. As a result of these improvements, significant reductions in the number of deaths and injured people have also been achieved. They decreased by 11percent, 7 percent and 1 percent in Antiguo, Centro and Gros respectively.
Author: Andres Martinez