The first goal of a Slow City project for a city is  (a) to reduce traffic accidents and their human and economic costs sharply, by (b) strategically slowing down traffic speeds, system-wise. This gives the city a measurable output (accident data and on-street and in-vehicle ITS feedback), indispensable for evaluation and management purposes.

In this way a Slow City project relates closely in many ways to the more widely known Smart Cities projects, integrating information and communication technology (ICT) and Internet of things (IoT) technology in a secure fashion to manage the city’s assets

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* Also see Slow City Transition: Notes for a Thinking Excercise

But this is just a first step in a much more ambitious process. In parallel with this, a second but closely related program targets (c) to reduce stop-and-start driving through an aggressive technical program combining street architecture modifications, signage, signaling and ITS, etc.

This sets an active strategic base for further projects and initiatives which build on these two foundation concepts.

Slower traffic, less start and stop driving will in turn lead to numerous benefits for all: among them, reduced GHG generation, improved fuel efficiency, reduced infrastructure and private vehicle costs, increased safety for pedestrians and cyclists, lower noise levels, less aggressivity on the part of drivers and others on the street, more agreeable streets, neighborliness, etc.

To meet its ambitious objectives this approach requires considerable technical competence in the areas of data collection, modeling and simulation, to ensure that all proposed measures are fully vetted and fine-tuned before being let out on the street. The tools are there; all they need is to be brought into a plan and put to work.

The 2017 Slow City Reader brings you useful background from the pages of World Streets to lend a hand to planners,  researchers, policy makers, NGOs, students, media and other concerned with the challenges of sustainable cities in general, and in particular with those of calming traffic speeds in combination with other complementary measures. It also  contains a  five-part “transport researcher’s toolkit” to help those who are interested to dig deeper on these issues and the tools at our disposal to deploy them.

* Click here for Reader –

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About the author:

Eric Britton
9, rue Gabillot, 69003 Lyon France

Bio: Educated as an international development economist, Eric Britton is an American political scientist, teacher and sustainability activist who has worked on missions and advisory assignments on all continents. Professor of Sustainable Development, Economy and Democracy at the Institut Supérieur de Gestion (Paris), he is also MD of EcoPlan Association, an independent advisory network providing strategic counsel for government and business on policy and decision issues involving complex systems, social-technical change, civil society and sustainable development. Founding editor of World Streets: The Politics of Transport in Cities | See Britton online at and @ericbritton

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