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Every year, approximately 1.35 million people lose their lives due to road traffic crashes. In many road crashes, speed plays a key role. As a result, managing speed has taken on great importance in cities around the world.
An effective method for reducing speed and improving road safety, especially in high-risk areas, has been to establish low-speed zones. This Low-Speed Zone Guide presents strategies for planning, designing, building, and evaluating low-speed zones. The guide intends to equip communities and decision-makers with the tools to implement low-speed zones that will suit their specific context.
- Traffic crashes are a leading cause of death and serious injury worldwide; most notably, they are the leading cause of death and serious injury among young people aged 5–29. Higher motor vehicle speeds increase the likelihood and severity of crashes.
- Low-speed zones have emerged as one of the most promising strategies for speed management. They can be appropriate in many different contexts and at various scales, as exemplified by case studies of successful projects around the world.
- Low-speed zones in cities need to be well-planned, well-designed, and well-built, to maximize safety and other benefits.
- Physical traffic-calming measures and target speeds of 30 kilometers/hour (km/h) or lower have the greatest proven safety benefits.
- Key considerations for implementation include stakeholder engagement, site selection (including risk: pedestrian/vulnerable road user presence), enforcement, evaluation, and the adaptation of basic principles for low-speed zone design to the local context.