20 MPH Slowing Down Seattle Streets

Reduced Injury Risks, But Not Universally.

Late in 2016, the city of Seattle diminished speed restrictions in certain areas, prompting an examination by the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety (IIHS). As New York turns to expanding speed limits on certain roadways, the exact opposite was taken by Seattle some time ago; conducing their efforts largely away from highway speeds.

Research conducted by the IIHS demonstrated that, in downtown Seattle, the implementation of slower default speed limits decreased the odds of a collision resulting in an injury by one fifth on main roads. Outside of the downtown area, minor injury diminutions were found, but these numbers weren’t statistically considerable because the slowdowns weren’t delivered or advertised as extensively there.

In November 2016, the maximum rate of travel in Seattle was revised from 30 mph to 25 mph on main streets and from 25 mph to 20 mph for driving on smaller, mainly residential roads. Raising alertness among drivers was the aim of a public outreach initiative as well as newly mounted gateway marks. By the close of 2019, out of the 32 cities and villages, eight had been given new speed limitation signs.

A recent study investigated the effect of reduced speed limits on vehicular injury rates in a major US metropolitan area. Outcomes revealed that downtown, the likelihood of incurring an injury from a crash lowered by 17%, and 7% when analyzing areas beyond the city center. Moreover, arterial roads showed a reduction of 20% and 11% respectively, downtown and outside the centre.

“When it comes to speed limits, ‘Everybody thinks of highways,’ noted David Harkey, President of the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety (IIHS). ‘But reducing speeds on city thoroughfares and residential streets is just as important.’Harkey’s comments were made in light of recent research findings from Seattle, which showed that reducing speed limits on local roads had a positive impact on crash severity. ‘These results illustrate the value of rethinking speed limits,’ he said. ‘Crashes still happened after Seattle’s changes, but they weren’t as dangerous.'”

This research contrasted the injury incidence between Seattle and three other contrast municipalities in Washington, where velocity limits did not transform. Under observation during 2020, the analysis managed weather and luminescence variables. Consequently, with these ascertained outcomes, Seattle is gearing up to spread out fresh signage and speed restrictions in places where they are yet to be executed.

It should be highlighted that the Spokane area’s unusual building format, wherein residential roads tend to be tight with automobiles parked on both sides of streets, is advantageous in respect to having reduced speed boundaries. This same notion may not necessarily be applicable to Portland and other areas. Nevertheless, a 20% dip in injuries emphasizes the potency of lower limits in this distinct region.

It is not the initial instance of the IIHS requiring lower speed restrictions. The protection entity did so recently as well, and that was regarding worries that the denser mass of EV’s such as the Hummer EV could possibly result in a higher hazard in collisions, mainly for those inside mini, sugary vehicles.

Until reaching a situation where there are no longer any fatalities or significant wounds on the roads, the debate over speed limits’ effectiveness will remain ongoing.

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