Speed limit links

There are links between speed limits, petroleum consumption, pedestrian deaths, walking, bicycling, obesity, air pollution and greenhouse gas emissions; there are even links with responsible government and terrorism.

This is a page of hyperlinks within the page; it is unlike any of my other pages, to use it you must follow the links as much as reading the statements. It was inspired by a talk heard on ABC radio, Australia. Unfortunately I didn't record the name of the man who gave the talk. All hyperlinks in the main body of this page, other than Home, link to other parts of this page.

This page is simplistic and unashamedly concentrates on the advantages of lower speeds on the roads, but the links are logical, and the consequences are often of great value. The quality of all of our lives could be improved if we were willing to drive a bit more slowly, walk and cycle more and use public transport more.

Unfortunately the great majority of people are too selfish to place the 'greater good' ahead of getting to where they want to get as quickly as possible, so this page is really just a dream; it doesn't match with human nature.

Written 2008/12/15, last edited 2024/01/13
Contact: David K. Clarke – ©

If speed limits are reduced...

If petroleum consumption is reduced...

If more people cycle...

If more people walk...

If more people travel by train...

If fewer people drive...

If air pollution is reduced...

If traffic congestion is reduced...

If driving is less stressful...

  • Driver's health is improved.
  • Drivers will be happier.
  • The number of road rage incidents will be reduced.

If pedestrians are safer...

  • Walking becomes more enjoyable.
  • Fewer pedestrians will be killed and injured.
  • More people will walk rather than drive.

If cyclists are safer...

  • Cycling becomes more enjoyable.
  • Fewer cyclists will be killed and injured.
  • More people will cycle rather than drive.

If Western nations are less reliant on imported petroleum...

If a nation interferes less with the affairs of other nations...

  • It provokes less terrorists and then it has less reason to fear terrorism.
  • 'Defence' costs are reduced, the money saved can be spent elsewhere.
  • Its citizens can have more respect for the increased ethical standards of their government.
  • Its leaders can have more self respect.
  • It improves its standing among other nations.
  • There is more peace in the world.
  • People like me are less likely to criticise it on the Net.

If obesity is reduced...

If people are healthier...

  • Their quality of life improves.
  • Their medical and hospital expenses are reduced and they have more to spend on other things.
  • They will be better able to walk and cycle.
  • They will be happier.

If fewer people are injured...

  • Human suffering is decreased, happiness increased.
  • More people will be able to do valuable work and fewer will need to rely on disability pensions; the economy will be improved.
  • The nation's health costs are decreased and the money saved can be spent elsewhere.

If people are happier...

  • Their quality of life is enhanced.
  • They have less reason to resort to drugs.
  • There is less cause for crime.
  • The happiness tends to rub off onto those they contact.
  • The number of road rage incidents will be reduced.

If people save money...

  • They will more easily be able to pay for the things that really matter.
  • Buying the first house becomes more within reach.
  • Putting good quality food on the table becomes easier.
  • Stress is reduced and health is improved.

If less greenhouse gas is produced...

  • The rate of climate change slows.
  • The rate of melting of polar ice and mountain glaciers slows.
  • The rate of sea level rise slows.
  • The rate of acidification of the oceans slows.
  • The rate of the loss of species slows.

If we can't travel quite so far as we used to...

  • We will not be able to holiday quite so far from our homes.
  • The longer of the routine journeys we have done become impractical.
  • We will not be able to commute quite so far to and from our work.
In all cases, petroleum consumption is reduced and greenhouse emissions are reduced.


I read once that people have always tended to live about 20 minutes travel from where they work. A hundred and fifty years ago they lived much closer to their work-place but they took just as long to get there because they walked, rode a horse or used a horse-drawn buggy to get there. And they did their shopping and socialising much closer to home, not in a shopping centre several kilometres from home; they would have gone to the corner store and the local pub for example.

So have we achieved a lot if we still have to travel about the same amount of time to do what we want to do?

If we are to reduce our emissions to sustainable levels will we have to go back to living closer to our work, socialising and shopping places? Driving less? Cycling and walking more? Using public transport more? The transition would be a very hard one. Our modern cities would have to be totally redesigned.

You might say I'm dreaming, but by definition we will eventually have to live sustainably if we are to live at all. (Electric vehicles are more environmentally friendly than ICE powered vehicles, but for them to be part of a fully sustainable future all their parts must be fully recyclable: they are not there yet.)

Concluding remarks

Of course many of the links on this page are arguable to some degree; in the first place many would argue that lower speed limits would lead to frustrated drivers and more road rage, and there is probably some truth in this. But most of the links rely on very simple and indisputable logic and I believe that travelling more slowly would, in sum, increase the general quality of life and the health of our shared environment.

In a few years it is likely that we will have to reduce our speeds because we will have to take serious action over climate change.

Some remarks on driving at lower speeds are also on my page Toward a more sustainable world.

Related pages

Related pages, external...

Wikipedia: Energy-efficient driving, maintaining an efficient speed. "The optimal speed varies with the type of vehicle, although it is usually reported to be between 56 km/h and 80 km/h."

Distracted driving; information and guidance

Aimeeā€™s guide to distracted driving

Tips for pedestrian safety

Related pages, on this site...

Climate change



Cycling in Mandurah


Self or all? Selfishness or altruism?

Travelling by bus

What should we do to reduce emissions?