Drive Slow, Go Faster: Energy-smart Transport and Urban Design Applied in Martin, Trnava and Zvolen (Slovak Republic)

Drive Slow, Go Faster: Energy-smart Transport and Urban Design Applied in Martin, Trnava and Zvolen (Slovak Republic)


M Stemerding, P van Beek, Goudappel Coffeng, NL: G Huismans, SenterNovem, NL; P Raksanyi, Slovak Technical University in Bratislava, SK


With the best practice example of Hilversum, three Slovak cities are now applying Drive Slow Go Faster in their urban plans. The paper shows the effects on energy use, emissions, traffic flow and safety, calculated with a microsimulation model.


In 2006, a group of nine cities and nine ?technical? partners started a project under the name of Snowball under the Sustainable Transport and Energy Reduction (STEER) program of the European Agency for Competitiveness and Innovation (EACI). The aim of the project was to design urban mobility plans in six cities that would reduce energy consumption and emissions. The methodology of the plans would reflect the integration of spatial urban planning on the one hand and transport and mobility planning on the other hand. One of the methods that was to be implemented for that cause is Drive Slow Go Faster. This method has been implemented successfully in the city of Hilversum (NL), which now serves as a best practice example of enhanced traffic flow, accessibility, and livability: energy use, emissions and travel times through the city have decreased significantly, while traffic safety has improved. Because of its inspiring success, Drive Slow Go Faster designs are now being prepared in three cities in the Slovak republic: Martin, Trnava and Zvolen.

Demonstrate that it is possible
Main objective of the Snowball project is to show Europe that it is possible to achieve policy goals on energy use, air pollution and livability simultaneously by implementing smart urban design methods. Furthermore, the projects aims to demonstrate that successful methods can be transferred from one country to another: in our case from The Netherlands to the Slovak republic.

Main elements of the Drive Slow Go Fast method
Drive Slow Go Faster increases the energy efficiency of the traffic system, because it aims at both speed reduction and a more even speed by all motorised means. This is done by a (re)design of the road itself and its environs, in such a way that cars cannot overtake anymore (one lanes for each way with a barrier between the lanes) and that the cars will be forced to drive at a lower speed (by designing smaller lanes). The Hilversum experience has shown that the concept can save up to 43% of energy and CO2 emissions. Because of the speed reduction and the homogeneous flow, such a design also reduces other negative impacts of traffic, e.g. Nox, PM10, noise and incidents. Furthermore, because crossing the redesigned lane is more easier for pedestrians and cyclists, the role of energy friendly and sustainable modes improves.

Situation in Martin, Zvolen and Trnava
Although the situations in the three cities are not identical, they can be characterized as follows. Broad, multi-lane roads that cut through the urban fabric are a legacy of the communist time (1945-1989). At the time of its original design in the nineteen-sixties, these roads symbolized progress. Before the nineties, the traffic flow had never been a problem, for its volumes were low. Now, after entrance into the European Union and during a long period of economic boom, prosperity has come to the Slovak cities. As a consequence, car ownership has increased dramatically, traffic and transport volumes have boomed, and the aforementioned roads have become a burden on the urban system. During rush hours, the roads are clogged with traffic, and further economic growth is constrained by reduced accessibility. Off-peak, the road design invites to speeding, causing a high rate of accidents. The example of Hilversum has shown that smart infrastructure design may solve all these problems.

Implementation and evaluation
The three cities have now designed urban plans applying the Drive Slow Go Faster method. For this purpose, they used the Drive Slow Go Faster model, which was developed by SenterNovem, CROW and Goudappel Coffeng. The model uses as input: road design, layout of junctions, traffic flow of passenger cars, freight transport and public transport (time table), and, moreover, volumes cyclists and pedestrians. The software uses a microsimulation model, featuring individual car-following behavior. For speeds and fleet characteristics such as fuel consumption, emissions and driving behavior, local/national parameters can be set. The output consists of traffic flow, speeds and stop-and-go-behavior, ?crossability? for cyclists and pedestrians, and energy use, CO2 emissions and emissions of Nox and PM10.

The paper shows the results for the cities of Martin, Trnava and Zvolen. The effects of the Drive Slow Go Faster plans are compared with the present situation. Results are shown for the following indicators: (i) energy consumption and CO2, (ii) air pollutants such as Nox and particulate matter, (iii) traffic flow and travel time through the network, (iv) traffic safety indicators for pedestrians and cyclists.


Association for European Transport