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Representatives from across the globe resolve to reduce speed limits

Author: Adrienne Kotler
Posted on: Tuesday, March 24, 2020 - 15:30

Last month, representatives from 130 countries convened in Stockholm (Sweden) for the Third Global Ministerial Conference on Road Safety. The event resulted in the “Stockholm Declaration,” in which governments resolved to reduce speed limits to 30 km/hour in areas where vehicles mix with vulnerable road users, like cyclists and pedestrians.

The Stockholm Declaration includes 18 resolutions that strive to halve the number of traffic deaths by 2030, and to link road safety to sustainable development. This builds on the overall theme of the conference of “Achieving Global Goals 2030,” and lays out concrete next steps for stakeholders working toward the European Commission’s “Vision Zero” aim of reducing road deaths to zero by 2050.

The Stockholm Declaration reinforces the European Commission’s EU Road Safety Policy Framework 2021-2030. In turn, the Commission has welcomed the declaration, with Commissioner for Transport Adina Vălean saying, “Road traffic crashes kill too many people, and what worries me the most is the fact that they are the biggest killer of young people worldwide…I consider it our duty to find solutions to improve road safety and we must act now, at local, European and global levels.”

European cities are leading the pack with respect to many European and global goals. For example, The Guardian reports that Helsinki (Finland) and Oslo (Norway) recorded zero pedestrian deaths in 2019. This was accomplished by cutting speed limits to 30 km/hour in key areas, as well as other traffic safety measures, such as redesigning streets to prioritise pedestrian safety.

Anni Sinnemäki, Helsinki’s Deputy Mayor of Urban Environment, commented that, “Of course, it’s not only a question of speed limits, although I think all our specialists do say that is the most important single thing affecting traffic safety.”

Cities and local governments – including those at the forefront of road safety measures, and those just entering this field – are seeing supportive frameworks and global declarations emerging at European and international levels. This should bolster local efforts, and lead us closer to concretely achieving “Vision Zero.”

For further information on road safety across the EU, read the 13th Annual Road Safety Performance Index (PIN) Report from the European Traffic Safety Council.

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