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Proportion of 30 km/h speed limit in German cities: IfL map shows regional differences

© Volker Bode / Leibniz-Institut für Länderkunde

Even if they are a nuisance to some motorists: Speed 30 zones reduce noise levels, save stress and avoid serious accidents. In view of the newly flared-up discussion about speed limits, the Leibniz Institute for Regional Geography has illustrated the proportions of speed-reduced roads in cities on a map of Germany.

The interactive map in the online National Atlas of the Leibniz Institute for Regional Geography (IfL) is based on the latest data for all 80 cities with more than 100,000 inhabitants. The map shows the proportion of road sections in the overall road network where the highest speed limit is 30 km/h or less. According to the chart, drivers most often have to slow down in cities in southern and northern Germany. The proportion of road sections with a maximum speed of 30 km/h in the middle of Germany is rather low in a wider band between Mönchengladbach and Dresden. The leader in speed-reduced roads is Berlin with a share of 60 percent, followed by Reutlingen (58 percent). Third place is shared by Essen and Munich, each with 56 per cent speed-30 shares of the total urban road network.

IfL researchers Christian Hanewinkel and Wladimir Sgibnev see one reason for the regional differences in the respective extent of the priority road network. Main roads are exempt from the regulation anchored in the Road Traffic Act, according to which road traffic authorities order 30 km/h zones within built-up areas "in agreement with the municipality". Many cities and municipalities would like to change the legal basis so that municipalities can introduce speed limits on their own responsibility – also on main roads or priority roads.

The IfL researchers found no evidence of a correlation between factors such as population size or business tax revenue and the designation of 30 km/h speed zones. In order to uncover meaningful correlations, further qualitative studies are necessary, for example on the political orientation of municipal decision-makers or on the role of local civil society actors such as the German Bicycle Club (Allgemeiner Deutscher Fahrrad-Club).

Original paper

Hanewinkel, Christian und Wladimir Sgibnev (2023): Tempo 30 in Großstädten. In: Nationalatlas aktuell 17 (02.2023) 2 [202.03.2023]. Leipzig: Leibniz-Institut für Länderkunde (IfL). URL:

Nationalatlas aktuell

At, the Leibniz Institute for Regional Geography regularly publishes map contributions on topics from the fields of economy, society, culture, politics, health and environment. All maps, diagrams and photos are available online and can also be downloaded as PDF documents. On request, the materials can be made available in print quality.

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Christian Hanewinkel
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Dr Wladimir Sgibnev
Phone: +49 341 600 55-161