North American cities are increasingly considering the importance of speed reduction to traffic safety, and Canada’s capital city is one of the leaders. While the City of Ottawa has significantly increased their roll out of traffic calming measures in recent years, officials continue to receive requests from residents for slower traffic speeds.

Recently, the City of Ottawa decided to take speed reduction one step further and introduce the possibility to post a new 30 km/h speed limit compared to the previous lowest limit of 40 km/h. There are notable safety benefits when speeds are 30 km/h rather than 40 km/h or greater.

Recognizing that simply posting a lower speed limit may not change driver behaviour, the City approached Mobycon to help develop a policy that can identify streets where a 30 km/h posted speed is likely to achieve a high rate of compliance.

Mobycon’s decades of experience in street design in the Netherlands has provided them with the expertise to understand what design elements are required in order to achieve slower traffic speeds. If you have been to the Netherlands, you have likely noticed that many streets are designed for everyone, even for kids to play soccer or hide and seek.

Mobycon drew from Sustainable Safety principles to develop a streamlined set of criteria that a street should meet in order to improve the likelihood of a 30 km/h operating speed. Furthermore, on streets where a 30 km/h speed is desirable but the existing street design is unlikely to encourage the lower speed, a series of low-cost countermeasures were proposed to help increase the visual cues for a slow street and achieve these speed reductions.

Taking advantage of the more accessible criteria, a group of residents initiated the first switch to a 30 km/h street in Westboro, west of downtown Ottawa. After fulfilling the criteria, this is the final part of the process to designate a 30 km/h street.

Mobycon North America’s unique Dutch background helps cities to create safer more enjoyable roads for users.