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  • Lowered Speed Limit in Seoul Reduces Pedestrian Accidents

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    After Seoul lowered the speed limit of all sections of median bus-only lanes from 50-60km/h to 50km/h for the safety of pedestrians (in December 2019), the travel time slightly increased by less than 2 minutes and the number of pedestrian accidents decreased.

    To check how much the travel time increased due to the lessening of the speed limit of the median bus-only lanes, the city of Seoul and the Korea Transportation Safety Authority compared and analyzed the difference in the travel time when cars operate at 60km/h and 50km/h. The investigation was conducted with ▴ automobiles and ▴ taxis in different sections.

    When it comes to automobiles, the travel times showed a difference of 1.9 minutes on average. While it takes an automobile 31.9 minutes to travel 10 km at the speed of 60km/h, it takes it 33.7 minutes at the speed of 50km/h. This takes into account a one-time stop for waiting at a red light. According to the analysis, the waiting at a red light and the lane selection have a greater impact on the difference in travel time than the speed limit.

    When it comes to taxis, the difference in the travel times is less than 2 minutes and the difference in the fare is KRW ±200, which means citizens do not have to suffer great inconveniences when taking taxis. The differences were shown as a result of traveling back and forth in a taxi at a speed of 60km/h and 50km/h in the section between Bongcheon-dong and Yangjae Citizens’ Forest.

    Seoul announced that for the Jongno section, where the speed limit of 50km/h was introduced in 2018 before other sections, the sharp decline in traffic accidents involving pedestrians was observed. According to the survey of traffic accident statistics before and after the lowering of the speed limit in 2018, the number of traffic accidents decreased by 15.8% (19→16) and the number of injuries by 22.7% (22→17).

    Lowered Speed Limit in Seoul Reduces Pedestrian Accidents
    Traffic Accidents Involving
    Pedestrians
    # of Accidents # of Deaths # of Injuries
    Total # of Seriously Injured Pedestrians # of Slightly Injured Pedestrians # of Reported Injuries
    2017 19 0 22 10 11 1
    2018 16 0 17 7 8 2
    Rate of Increase/Decrease ▽15.8% ▽22.7% ▽30.0% ▽22.3% △100%

    ※ Effect Analysis Period: (before) July-December 2017 / (after) July-December 2018
    Data Source: Seoul Metropolitan Government, Korea Transportation Safety Authority

    □ Statistics of Deaths Caused by Traffic Accidents in Seoul
    <Unit: Person>

    Lowered Speed Limit in Seoul Reduces Pedestrian Accidents
    Category 2012 2013 2014 2015 2016 2017 2018 2019
    (tentative)
    Yearly 424 378 400 376 348 343 304 246
    Daily Average 1.16 1.04 1.10 1.02 0.95 0.94 0.83 0.67
    Pedestrians
    (Percentage)
    235
    (55%)
    215
    (54%)
    214
    (54%)
    214
    (57%)
    200
    (57%)
    192
    (56%)
    184
    (60%)
    144
    (59%)