Smart Transport

Two European capitals cut pedestrian and cyclist deaths to zero after traffic changes

Helsinki and Oslo have achieved the milestone of zero pedestrian and cyclist deaths last year, following changes to traffic infrastructure.

Norway also reported zero child road deaths nationally for the first time, based on ages 0-15.

The European Transport Safety Council (ETSC)’s most recent PIN report (based on 2018 data) showed that Norway had the lowest road mortality in Europe, at 20 deaths per million inhabitants.

The country also recorded the largest drop in road deaths since 2010 – highlighting that an already high performing country can continue to make progress.

Oslo reported one death of a car driver last year, and Helsinki lost one car driver and two motorcyclists.

Oslo has reduced car traffic, put in place lower speed limits, improved infrastructure and introduced so-called heart zones (hjertesoner) around schools to improve safety.

Both Oslo and Helsinki cite speed reductions as essential to progress, as well as the work done to encourage cycling.

Helsinki city centre is now mostly a 30km/h zone.  In new residential areas, roads are designed to encourage lower speeds. 

In other areas speed bumps, elevated pedestrian crossings and roundabouts are among the measures put in place to reduce speeds.  Enforcement remains crucial in both cities.

Antonio Avenoso, ETSC executive director, said: “Europe’s metropolitan areas now have a template to follow if they want a pathway to ending road deaths. The progress of Helsinki and Oslo is a testament to the Vision Zero philosophy.

“Through constant effort, political leadership, target setting and clear responsibilities, they have shown it is possible to achieve what, only fifty years ago, seemed impossible.  While clearly work still needs to be done to reduce serious injuries, we must pay tribute to the incredible and inspiring results these cities have delivered.”

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