Respecting the legal speed limits is the traffic rule most often overlooked by road users. Speeding remains a widespread phenomenon. The OECD estimates that at any one moment 50% of drivers exceed legal speed limits. Changing speed behaviour is therefore different from other road safety areas: it requires a majority of drivers to adopt a different way of driving, whereas compliance with BAC limits (Blood Alcohol Content) and seatbelt legislation requires only a minority of 'offenders' to change. This problem is set within a social context in which speeding is not yet considered as socially unacceptable as drink driving. The extent of the behavioural and social change needed illustrates the urgency.
The objectives of the ShLOW project were:
- To have dedicated students undertake speed management activities within their local surroundings in ten EU countries. These actions will help achieve significant reductions in excessive and illegal speeds across the EU's road network;
- To spread the know-how from transport research into speed management across Europe and train and encourage future road safety, transport, and environmental sector professionals to carry out effective speed management measures within their career;
- To help achieve two core EU targets: improving road safety and reducing greenhouse gas emissions.
Throughout the project, 50 students (from engineering to environmental sciences as well as other academic fields) were selected to receive training in speed management and run a small scale activity of their choice to demonstrate through concrete actions how speed reductions can be achieved.
The ShLOW milestones are:
- The ShLOW! Lectures
From September 2008 to February 2009 members of the ShlOW! Consortium gave five university lectures in each country to recruit and motivate students to participate in the project.
- The ShLOW! Camp
In spring 2009 50 selected students from across the 10 participating countries were invited to attend a one week training course on Speed Management in Brussels: the ShLOW! Camp. During that week the students were given lectures by key road safety experts and professionals, but they were also involved in group exercises and went on a number of field trips dedicated to road safety.
- The ShLOW! Challenge
For the remainder of 2009 and until spring 2010 these students then conducted one speed management action each in their home country, applied ideas and knowledge they gathered during their training in Brussels.
- The ShLOW! Ceremony
The most successful students received an award at a final Ceremony in Brussels in spring 2010. There was one student awarded per country and one overall 'winner' was awarded: the student judged to have achieved the best results in implementing a speed management action by an independent Jury of road safety experts set up for this occasion. The ShlOW! Ceremony was at the same time an international conference on Speed Management attended by road safety experts.
- An efficient and integrated mobility system: Acting on transport safety (saving thousands of lives)
- Innovating for the future (technology and behaviour): Promoting more sustainable development