As Montreal prepares to lower speed limits in certain areas to as low as 20 km/h, officials in Vancouver will be watching with interest.

Earlier this week, Montreal Mayor Denis Coderre announced plans to decrease speed limits to 40 km/h on major roads in the city centre and 30 km/h in residential areas by 2019.

The speed limit would be even lower in parts of Old Montreal but higher on some main arteries.

The intention behind the dramatic change is to increase safety for pedestrians, something Vancouver Mayor Gregor Robertson said is a priority for his government as well.

The city already has reduced speed limits in some areas, including school zones, bike routes, and a stretch of Hastings Street in the Downtown Eastside.

"Wherever there's a hotspot for safety we have taken action, and we'll continue to look at whether a broader implementation of a 30 km/h [speed limit] makes sense," Robertson told reporters Wednesday.

"So far we're making progress on reducing fatalities, but we want that to go right down to zero."

Dr. Perry Kendall, B.C.'s chief provincial health officer, advocates for a 30 km/h default speed limit in cities.

He argued for such a policy in an in-depth report on road safety released last year, which found 30 km/h to be a "survivable speed" for cyclists and pedestrians, meaning they're much more likely to live if struck by a vehicle travelling that fast.

"You have an 80 per cent chance of walking away," Kendall said. "If you're hit at 50 km/h, you have a 10 per cent chance of walking away from it."

Robertson said officials are keeping an eye on other jurisdictions' strategies, including municipalities that are decreasing limits city-wide, but that commuting times and the transportation of goods will also be taken into consideration.

With files from CTV Vancouver's Maria Weisgarber