The 3rd Congress of the “Network of Cities to Walk” was held in Torres Vedras, Portugal on 15th and 16th October, attended by officials from Portugal and Spain aimed at improving pedestrian safety and reducing road accidents in cities in the Iberian Peninsula. Those attending including officials from the Ministry of Internal Affairs, General Directorate of Traffic and the Director of Planning and Innovation Office Services, Institute for Mobility and Transport (IMT).

The main recommendation approved at the congress was to reduce the speed limit to 30 kilometers per hour [km / h] in residential areas to create secure spots in cities, so that pedestrians and bicycles have highest priority,” said Pablo Bacchus, coordinator of International Network of Cities to Walk. He added that this recommendation will be made to municipalities and central government.

The network includes municipalities in Spain and Portugal and other institutions interested in improving the situation for pedestrians through the implementation and exchange of initiatives to improve universal accessibility, road safety and the environment itself. The basic guidelines of the network are based on the principles enshrined in the Charter of Pedestrian Rights, adopted by Parliament in October 1988 and in the International Bill for walking.

The official explained that, while not reduce the volume of traffic, the reduction in speed “reduces air and noise pollution and road accidents.”

Pablo Bacchus gave the example of Pontevedra (Spain), which today received the Award Cities that Walk 2015 for its good practice in the public spaces of the city, restricting car use and increasing access for citizens. Because of this policy, the Galician city decreased by 80% the number of serious road accidents involving pedestrians