Speed Management Tools and Tips
Speeding is one of the most common concerns faced by local agencies. It seems that people are always in a hurry, possibly distracted and not paying attention to posted speed limits. Regardless of whether it’s in a rural neighborhood or an urban downtown, speeding has become the “norm.” Unfortunately speeding can be deadly.The Federal Highway Administration (FHWA) cites speeding as a factor in 26 percent of all fatalities.
So how do we solve this issue? Many people think enforcement is the only solution. Enforcement can certainly help, but most police departments have limited resources and can’t have an officer on every street all the time. However, there are several tools and tips available to slow people down and make our roads safer for everyone.
Although it would be great if we could control every driver’s behavior behind the wheel, we just can’t. What we can do is affect their behavior by providing them environmental guidance on how they should be driving. This could be in the form of additional signage on a roadway, the use of speed feedback signs as a reinforcement of the speed limit or in restriping a road so speeding feels less comfortable. Connecticut has also recently passed legislation to address speeds in pedestrian zones and allow municipalities to set local speed limits. For more information on that legislation, register to attend the T2 Center’s September Coffee and Conversation here.
Many local agencies also employ more extensive measures to reduce speeds by making physical changes to a roadway. This may include installation of devices such as speed humps/tables/cushions, chicanes, road diets and roundabouts. Many of these can be installed on a temporary basis to evaluate their effectiveness. Several communities in Connecticut have installed these types of devices, examples of which can be found on the T2 Center’s website. Also, there are several tools available to help you decide which measures might work in your community. FHWA has a website dedicated to speed management which includes useful tools including a traffic calming e-primer, https://safety.fhwa.dot.gov/speedmgt/.
An important and often overlooked tool is being a good example on the road. When driving, obey the speed limit on all roads. It can be easy to drive slowly in our neighborhood but then speed elsewhere in town. By paying attention to how we drive everywhere, we can set the pace for other drivers and help slow speeds in our community.
For more information and assistance with local road safety in your community, contact Melissa Evans, Safety Circuit Rider, at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Federal Highway Administration, https://safety.fhwa.dot.gov/speedmgt/