AS we know, the Covid-19 pandemic lockdown has been a silver lining for another global crisis, Climate change.

Sharp decrease in traffic and better air quality have been reported around the world, and hundreds of jurisdictions from Berlin to Bogota are reallocating space to make it easier for walkers and cyclists, with permanent and emergency solutions, like ''pop up'' bike routes.

''We are at a moment of change that we have not seen since World War II when cities need to reinvent themselves,'' said Claudia Adriazola-Steil, global director for the health and road safety programs at the World Resources Institute's Ross center for Sustainable Cities.

''The longtime goals of reducing the number of cars on the roads and unacceptable levels of air pollution was achieved in a few weeks. You can see the Himalayan blue skies for the first time in 25 years.''

But speed is a serious ''invisible threat, a hidden enabler'' undermining those efforts, Ms. Adriazola-Steil said. ''If you have more people able to walk and bike, it will be a huge gain in terms of climate change, but if we want cities to be more sustainable, you have to reduce the speed of the cars.'' .

Driving at lower speeds means less fuel use, which lowers the carbon emissions. It also means less crash risk. Global efforts, from lowering speed and regulating the exports of ''dirty'' and unsafe cars in adopting smart street design. aim to reduce death on the world's roads and improve the environment.

''Humans have a developed sense of altitude, but not speed,'' Ms. Adriazola Steil said. ''It's a perception that's difficult to change.'' For example, most people fear jumping out a second floor window, but the injury risk is about the same as getting hit by a car at 25 m.p.h.

Globally, speed is one of the biggest causes of traffic crash deaths and serious injury, contributing to about one third of fatalities in high-income countries and up to one half in low-and-middleincome countries. In the United States, speed limits have been rising since the mid-1990s.

''People just do not understand that there are huge benefits from reducing speed,'' said Veroinque Feypell, manager at the International Transport Forum, a Paris-based intergovernmental organization with 60 member countries within the Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development.

Nearly all countries have reported a sharp decrease in traffic, around 70 percent. But average speeds -including very excessive speeding - have increased during the shelter-in-place period, including in the United States.

''The individual benefit of going just a little slower may appear to have a small impact, but the collective benefit has a huge impact on the reduction in the number of crashes, serious injuries and deaths,'' she said, adding that a 10 percent increase in speed would, on average, lead to an increase in of about 40 percent in fatal crashes.

The Honor and Serving of the Latest Global Operational Research on Traffic and Trade-off, continues. The World Students Society thanks author Tanya Mohn.


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