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speed limit 30 for the city

German Association of Cities pleads for model trials

14. July 2021

Paris goes first: From the end of August, a speed limit of 30 kilometres per hour will apply on almost all roads in the French capital. The only exceptions are the Champs-Elysées and a few other avenues, where 50 kilometres per hour will still be permitted, and the Périphérique ring road, where the speed limit has already been reduced from 90 to 70.

speed limit 30 in the city

speed limit 30 in the city © Thomas Wolter/pixabay

Model trials in Germany

The German Association of Cities pleads for model trials in Germany to try out 30 km/h as a standard speed outside main roads and thus supports the initiative "Liveable cities through appropriate speeds - a new municipal initiative for more city-friendly traffic" of several major German cities. Aachen, Augsburg, Freiburg im Breisgau, Hanover, Leipzig, Münster, Ulm and Bonn are calling on the federal government to amend the Road Traffic Act to create the conditions for local authorities to impose a 30 km/h speed limit in built-up areas where they deem it necessary.

Currently, municipalities are only allowed to set a speed limit of 30 km/h on district, state or federal roads in a few exceptional cases, such as roads with less traffic. The aim of the Cities' Initiative is to create the framework conditions for more model and pilot projects or 30 km/h speed zones in the medium term and to allow 50 km/h speed limits only on selected main roads.

German Association of Cities: More model projects, no blanket solutions

In its own statement, the German Association of Cities also pleads for more pilot projects to try out speed 30 as a standard speed outside main roads. "We want to make traffic in cities more efficient, climate-friendly and safer. For this, however, we need more scope for decision-making at the local level. The municipalities are best placed to decide which speeds are appropriate in which streets," says Burkhard Jung, President of the German Association of Cities and Towns and Mayor of Leipzig (SPD). "We don't want to introduce 30 km/h speeds across the board in our cities. And we don't want blanket regulations for all cities. But we want cities to decide for themselves and to be able to test new models of speeds. In order for such model trials to start under real conditions, the Road Traffic Act must be amended. This demand has also been taken up in resolutions of the German Bundestag. In the new legislative period, this must be quickly set in motion," Jung continues.

The Cities Initiative emphasises that without a new legal requirement, municipalities would not be able to decide to change speed limits in a flexible and location-specific way. It is not an initiative against motorists, but a project for residents. The streets would be safer for pedestrians and cyclists in particular.

Environmental and climate protection

In the course of the multifaceted debate on climate protection, an extension of 30 km/h speed limits in cities is repeatedly discussed in addition to a general speed limit on motorways. It is hoped that a lower speed limit will contribute to environmental and climate protection on the one hand and further reduce the number of accidents on the other. Under certain conditions, lowering the speed limit to 30 kilometres per hour can also have positive effects on the environment. However, whether a positive effect occurs at all and in what quality depends on different factors, as various studies and experts have shown.

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