French Policy of Reducing the Speed Limit From 90 to 80 KM/H: How to Assess Social Effects?

The reduction of the speed limit on the French secondary network aims to stop the trend of stagnating road deaths in France and to reach the French target. Literature has shown that speed has a global effect on all accidents. Whether fatal or not, accidents are "tragic events/ life tragedy" inducing economic costs to the community. Based on this observation, the driving risks prevention is a major social issue. In 2013, the French National Road Safety Council Experts Committee estimated that lowering the speed limit from 90 to 80 km/h on single carriageway roads outside built-up areas may spare between 350 and 400 lives per year, if the average speed is effectively reduced by 5 km/h. In January 2018, the Prime Minister introduced the speed reduction measure. The change is implemented from 1 July 2018, to be evaluated over the first 2 years. It has generated protest in civil society, particularly regarding the journey time delay for road users. The French Road Safety Directorate has entrusted the Centre for Studies on Risks, Environment, Mobility and Urban Planning (Cerema) with the task of evaluating this measure. This paper presents the methodology for assessing its social effects, by taking into account the social dimension and the users more precisely in the economic evaluation. Benefits and losses for the collectivity are studied. The French frame reference for evaluating transport projects is the reference for the authors approach. The reference values of the French guide allow a monetary valuation of the socio-economic effects and complement the qualitative and quantitative analysis of the effects. The study encompasses the travel time gains and losses by road users, as well as the traffic flow conditions (Google maps application, Floating Car Data, measurement campaigns). The various consequences of road accidents are grasped through the evolution of the number of killed and injured people, and accident rates on the non-motorway road network outside built-up areas. Finally, the effects on air and noise pollution (literature review, measures and modeling data) as well as the evaluation of user perception (surveys) complete the social dimension. First results show, one year after the implementation of the 80 km/h measure, an increase in travel time observed between June 2018 and June 2019 of the order of one second per kilometer on a daily 30 km journey between work and home. Drivers tend to over- estimate the delay (more than 2 minutes for an average daily journey of 50 kilometers). Final results of the policy implementation, with an assessment of its effects in terms of socio-economic value, social acceptability and cultural change, will be available for the 48th ETC in September 2020.


  • English

Media Info

  • Media Type: Digital/other
  • Features: Figures; References;
  • Pagination: 17p
  • Monograph Title: European Transport Conference 2020

Subject/Index Terms

Filing Info

  • Accession Number: 01766206
  • Record Type: Publication
  • Files: TRIS
  • Created Date: Feb 10 2021 4:19PM