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30km/h in urban areas

This campaign aims to raise awareness of the benefits to people living in towns and communities across Ireland when the speed limit is 30km/h.

30km/h town campaign

Aside from the obvious road safety benefit with a reduction in speed there are also environmental and economic benefits.  The Campaign illustrates the safe interaction between a number of road users  to raise awareness of how lowering the speed limit in urban areas can lead to safer, greener, more liveable towns and communities. The TV led campaign is supported by Radio, digital audio, social media and out of home advertising.

The TV advertisement is shot in a beautiful Irish town with a speed limit of 30Km/h. A car passes a school girl at a bus stop and she opens the advert singing a song about driving at 30Km/h to the air of the well know song ‘Dirty old Town’.

As the edit continues other members of the town join in and the point of view changes from the drivers to each road user, which enables the viewer to see that all road users are happy to share the roads with each other as they are all travelling at a speed that that is safe for all. The advertisements follows the car as it travels around the town and ends with the car leaving the town and the driver saying “Feels good to drive at 30”.

The new 30km/h speed zones in urban areas campaign raises awareness of the benefits to people living in towns and communities across Ireland when the speed limit is 30km/h.

Benefits of 30Km/h in urban areas

The list of benefits of these 30Km/h areas for local communities extend beyond the obvious road safety ones, they also include environmental benefits, health benefits and economic benefits, linked to the tourism potential of lower speed limits. 

 The benefits of 30km/h speed limits include:

  • reduced road danger
  • increasing health 
  • increase our economy and business
  • a reduced risk of pedestrians and cyclists being killed or injured
  • traffic moves more smoothly with minimal effects on journey times
  • air and noise pollution are reduced
  • more people walking and cycling
  • more children playing outdoors
  • young people and elderly people are more likely to move about independently
  • our urban and village streets and residential estates can be transformed from car dominated through-roads to vibrant living ‘people-friendly’ space
  • allows urban roads to become liveable streets and safer for children, older people and those who are disabled and may be hard of hearing.
  • rising levels of obesity are combated by encouraging people of all ages to walk and cycle and by encouraging children to play outdoors


RSA Free Survey 2018

  • The percentage of car drivers observed exceeding the speed limit on urban roads was 52%. For full breakdown of this figure by road type, see Appendix 1 of the full report.
  • At the Urban National 30km/h location, only 3 out of the 140 cars sampled was travelling at or under the 30 km/h speed limit.
  • At the Residential 30km/h locations, 168 out of the 508 cars sampled were travelling at or under the 30 km/h speed limit.
  • On urban national roads with a 50km/h speed limit, the average observed speed was 61km/h in 2018.

Fatal and serious injuries by road user type on urban roads, 2018-2022

  • Between 2018 and 2022, 27% of fatalities occurred on an urban road*, while 53% of serious injuries occurred on an urban road*.
  • Over this time period, 89% of seriously injured pedestrians and 81% of seriously injured cyclists were injured on an urban road*.
  • In 2022, the number of pedestrian fatalities and serious injuries were highest figures in the past five years.
  • Between 2018 and 2022, pedestrians represented 23% of fatalities and 20% of serious injuries.
  • Between 2018 and 2022, cyclists represented 6% of fatalities and 19% of serious injuries.

Figures are provisional and subject to change. Figures are sourced from Five-year trend analysis of fatalities and serious injuries 2018-2022 and are current as of 15 May 2023. *An urban road has a speed limit of 60km/h or less.

National Survey on Speeding, 2022

  • 54% of car drivers admit to exceeding 50km/h speed limits by less than 10km/h ‘at least sometimes’.
  • 29% of car drivers admit to exceeding 50km/h speed limits by more than 10km/h ‘at least sometimes’.
  • 50% of car drivers believe it is acceptable to exceed 100km/h speed limits by less than 10km/h.
  • 27% of car drivers believe it is acceptable to exceed 100km/h speed limits by more than 10km/h.

Safety outcomes when pedestrians are hit by a motor vehicle at  various speeds*

    • If hit at 60km/h 5 out of 10 pedestrians will be killed.
    • If hit at 50km/h 3 out of 10 pedestrians will be killed.
    • If hit at 30km/h 9 out of 10 will survive.
    Vehicle speed and Pedestrian  fatalities: Evidence to  support road safety  messaging, by Dr Kiran Sarma and Mia  Doolan,  University of Galway, 2023

From Ireland’s perspective the following would be worth noting

    • 30km/h provided for in law from 2004
    • Speed limit review in 2013 with speed limit guidelines following on in 2014.
    • Increased rollout from 2014 arising out of the speed limits review and revised guidelines with its use on roads in housing areas (Slow Zones) or roads in urban cores or non-arterial urban roads.
    • A further speed limit review has just commenced with amongst other things to review limits to improve road safety and the introduction of the 30km/h limit as a default for urban roads (current default limit is 50Km/h).

Case studies

  • Spain set a national 30km/h limit for all urban roads with a single carriageway in each direction from May 2021.
  • In Wales, the new national 20mph speed limit for cities, towns and villages in Wales became effective on 17th September 2023.
  • Scotland in its Road Safety Strategy has announced that 20mph should be the urban/village and is creating a Task Force to deliver it by 2025.
  • Brussels now has a 30km/h limit for most roads. Between Jan and June 2021 they reported the decrease in the number of serious injuries and deaths was 25% compared to the average for the first half of the years 2016-20.
  • Paris has set a 30km/h limit for most roads. With many French cities following.
  • London already has a 20mph limit for all its Inner London Borough managed roads and Transport for London (who manage the arterials roads) plan to increase the length of its 20mph arterials from 80km to 220km by 2024.
  • US cities are adopting 20mph as a default for residential and community roads in Minneapolis, San Francisco, Washington, Seattle, Portland and many more as they reduce speed limits from 25mph (40km/h) to 20mph.
  • Scandinavian Countries already have a de-facto 30km/h limit for most urban roads with Oslo and Helsinki recording zero pedestrian deaths last year with 30km/h as a key reason.

30km/h Radio

30km/h English Radio30km/h Irish Radio