Swiss cities call for 30kmph traffic speed limit

Traffic contributes to excessive noise pollution that affects a million people in Switzerland. © Keystone / Gaetan Bally

Cities in Switzerland have mooted a maximum speed limit of 30 kilometers per hour for residential areas.

This content was published on December 18, 2022 minutes

The Association of Swiss Cities has officially put forward the proposal in a combined position paper.

The 30km/ph speed limit is currently applied randomly to specific streets in Swiss cities and towns. Elsewhere a 50km/ph speed limit is usually enforced.

Since 1970 there has been a downward trend in serious personal injuries on Swiss roads. Last year 200 people died in road accidents, 27 fewer than a year before. However, the number of seriously injured people rose by 140 to 3,933.

But the new speed limit proposal is aimed more at noise pollution than preventing accidents.

Reducing the speed at which cars can travel from 50km/ph to 30km/ph would reduce noise levels by three decibels, the proposal argues.

A study by the Federal Office for the Environment (FOEN) put the annual cost of traffic noise pollution, such as health costs and lost value of properties, at CHF2.3 billion ($2.46 billion).

A separate FOEN study in 2020 found that a million Swiss residents suffer from harmful noise pollution close to their homes.

It will cost an estimated CHF6 billion to reduce noise levels to more reasonable levels, the study said.

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