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FHWA Home / Safety / Speed Management / Noteworthy Speed Management Practices

Noteworthy Speed Management Practices

Appendix C: Speed Management Resources

There are a number of speed management resources and examples of agency practices available for practitioners. Information summarized during the course of the project was summarized in five general areas including the following:

General Guidance on Speed Management

Powell, T, and R. Martin. Speeding Away from Zero: Rethinking a Forgotten Safety Challenge. Governors Highway Safety Associate GHSA, January 2019

This report presents speeding-related fatality trends according to data collected by the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration Fatality Analysis Reporting System. This report documents and summarizes information collected from states and reviews policy, programmatic, and cultural trends related to speeding. It provides a discussion on the collection of speeding-related crash data as well as showcases approaches to setting speed limits. The report concludes that the current landscape on speeding reveals a number of the following key findings:

The report recommends that in order to achieve breakthroughs, the transportation community should consider a number of key steps including the following:

Neuner, M., J. Atkinson, B. Chandler, S. Hallmark, R. Milstead, and R. Retting. Integrating Speed Management Within Roadway Departure, Intersections, and Pedestrian and Bicyclist Safety Focus Areas. FHWA-SA-16-017. April 2016. Speeding—defined as traveling too fast for conditions or in excess of the posted speed limits—, contributes to nearly one-third of all roadway fatalities, and this proportion has remained largely unchanged for the past decade. Practitioners and communities working to reduce speeding-related crashes need the latest information and tools to guide their efforts. Since roadway departure, intersection, and pedestrian and bicycle crashes have been identified by the Federal Highway Administration as the three areas with great potential to reduce fatalities, States are encouraged to integrate speed management into these three safety focus areas. In order to assist agencies with integrating speed management into their policies, practices, and safety plans, this report presents information on national speeding-related crash trends, promotes a speed-related crash data analysis approach, and recommends strategies and initiatives for integrating speed management into both an agency's overall policies as well as its roadway departure, intersection, and pedestrian and bicyclist safety programs.

Bagdade, J., D. Nabors, H. McGee, R. Miller, and R. Retting. Speed Management: A Manual for Local Rural Road Owners. FHWA-SA-12-027. November 2012. This document provides information on how to develop a speed management program that is tailored to meet the needs of local rural road practitioners. A speed Management program can be effective in lowering the number of speeding crashes and the resulting fatalities and serious injuries on local rural roads. This document describes the various elements of a speed management program, including the principles of setting speed limits appropriate for roads within the jurisdiction and various countermeasures that are effective in mitigating speeding as it relates to roadway safety in rural areas.

Speed Management ePrimer for Rural Transition Zones and Town Centers. FHWA. January 2018. This Speed Management ePrimer for Rural Transition Zones and Town Centers is a free, online resource openly available for public use. The ePrimer presents a review of speeding-related safety issues facing rural communities, along with the basic elements required for data collection, information processing, and countermeasure selection by rural transportation professionals and community decision-makers. The ePrimer is presented in six distinct modules developed to allow the reader to move between each to find the desired information, without a cover-to-cover reading. The ePrimer presents the following:

Speed Management Toolkit. FHWA Safety Program. FHWA0SA015-017. 2017. This speed management resource was developed from the most relevant and up-to-date existing speed management guides, informational resources, and research evidence. The first section is an annotated bibliography that provides a descriptive list of key speed management resources. The bibliography also identifies the primary target audiences who may find the resources most useful. Resources were reviewed as part of the project to identify best speed management practices, and to develop the model speed management Action Plan template.

The second section describes crash- and speed-reducing countermeasures and the effects that might be expected for implementing the listed treatments. The countermeasures included, with potential crash effects or Crash Modification Factors (CMFs), are derived from high quality evaluations.

Several sources were consulted to develop the list of countermeasures with strong evidence of crash or speed-reducing effects. Key among these sources were the Highway Safety Manual, the Crash Modification Factors Clearinghouse, and FHWA proven safety countermeasures information. Although only measures that have a high quality of evaluation evidence were included in these lists, other measures may also have crash-reducing effects, but the evidence is not as conclusive. New knowledge emerges continually, so practitioners are encouraged to consult the Crash Modification Factors Clearinghouse and other sources for the most up-to-date information. These CMF effect estimates may be used in cost benefit assessments to help prioritize among alternate countermeasures as described in the Action Plan template. The third section provides tip sheets for communications experts and others involved in supporting the speed management program and countermeasures through education and awareness efforts. The tip sheets provide guidance on developing a locally-tailored communications program. Creating and sustaining an effective speed management program requires the commitment and support of diverse stakeholders, including users of the roadways and effective communications which can help build such support. In addition, safety benefits of specific countermeasures, such as enforcement or new or unfamiliar engineering treatments, may be enhanced with an effective communications program.

Ecola, L., S.W. Popper, R. Silberglitt, and L. Fraade-Blanar. The Road to Zero: A Vision for Achieving Zero Roadway Deaths by 2050. Rand Corporation. 2018. Summarizes information for achieving vision zero.

Traffic Calming ePrimer. FHWA. February 2017.

The Traffic Calming ePrimer is a free, online resource openly available for public use. The ePrimer presents a thorough review of current traffic calming practices and contains the information needed to understand this complex field. The ePrimer is presented in eight distinct modules developed to allow the reader to move between each to find the desired information, without a cover-to-cover reading. The ePrimer presents the following:

Hallmark, S., S. Knickerbocker, and N. Hawkins. Evaluation of Low Cost Traffic Calming for Rural Communities - Phase II. Iowa Department of Transportation. January 2013. The study evaluated traffic-calming treatments through small Iowa communities using either single-measure low-cost or gateway treatment that was appropriate for major roads through small rural communities. The project identified small rural communities with speed issues, selected and installed countermeasures, and compared the impact using before and after studies. Thirteen different traffic calming strategies were evaluated in 10 rural communities in Iowa.

Fitzsimmons, E., N. Oneyear, S. Hallmark, N. Hawkins, and T. Maze. Synthesis of Traffic Calming Techniques in Work Zones. January 2009. Smart Work Zone Deployment Initiative. This project identified and summarized the effectiveness of different traffic calming treatments to reduce speeds in work zones. State of the art and new technologies for speed management in work zones were identified and summarized. A report, summarizing work zone speed management countermeasures was developed.

Hallmark, S. and N. Hawkins. "Traffic Calming on Main Roads through Rural Communities" Tech Brief. FHWA-HRT-08-067. US Department of Transportation, Federal Highway Administration. February 2009. Speed management is a significant challenge for most communities in the United States. This is particularly true for small, rural communities where the main roadway through the town serves a dual role. Outside the town, the roadway provides high-speed travel over long distances; within the built-up area, however, the same roadway accommodates local access, pedestrians of all ages, on-street parking, bicycles, and the many other features unique to the character of a community. This convergence of roadway purposes presents both an enforcement challenge for the community and a potential safety problem for the public.

Addressing the issue through law enforcement alone often leads to temporary compliance at a significant cost. A more permanent way to reinforce the need to reduce speed is to change the look and feel of the road by installing traffic calming treatments that communicate to drivers that the function of the roadway is changing. Traffic calming has been evaluated and used extensively within low-speed urban areas in the United States but less so in rural areas where driver expectations and traffic characteristics are different.

Traffic calming is more common in rural communities in Europe where multiple measures such as colored pavement, physical lane narrowing, signing, and landscaping are often combined. A gateway treatment intended to evoke lower speed on the approach and entrance to the community is usually followed by a series of other measures repeated throughout the community to encourage drivers to maintain appropriate speeds. Speed reductions up to 15 mph from rural traffic calming have been reported in France, Denmark, and the UK, although speed reductions of 5 mph were more typical. Total accidents were reduced by 50 percent and injury accidents by 25 percent or more.

This tech brief summarizes an evaluation of the effects on the speed of low-cost, traffic-calming treatments on main rural highways passing through small, rural communities in Iowa.

Hallmark, S. and H. Isebrands. Toolbox to Address Safety and Operations around Schools in Iowa. Nov. 200.5 Case studies around elementary schools in Iowa were conducted to identify common traffic safety issues and best practices. Countermeasures and recommendations were summarized in a toolbox specifically prepared for school officials as well as transportation agencies.

Setting Speed Limits

USLIMITS2. FHWA Office of Safety Programs. January 2018.

USLIMITS2 is a web-based tool designed to help practitioners set reasonable, safe, and consistent speed limits for specific segments of roads. USLIMITS2 is applicable to all types of roads ranging from rural local roads and residential streets to urban freeways. However, the tool is not applicable to school zones or construction zones.

User-friendly, logical, and objective, USLIMITS2 is of particular benefit to local communities and agencies without ready access to engineers experienced in conducting speed studies for setting appropriate speed limits. For experienced engineers, USLIMITS2 can provide an objective second opinion and increase confidence in speed limit setting decisions.

Hildebrand, E.D., A. Ross, and K. Robinchaud. "The Effectiveness of Transitional Speed Zones." ITE Journal. October 2004. pp. 30-38. This study summarizes policies on speed transition zones and summarizes studies which evaluated driver compliance in transition zones.

Rawson, C.T. Procedures for Establishing Speed Zones.August 2015.Texas Department of Transportation. These procedures summarize speed management policies in Texas including transition zones.

Sign Installation Policy—Speed Limits. Municipality of Anchorage. Traffic Engineering Department. This is a speed limit policy for Municipality of Anchorage.

Speed Limit Guidelines. Missouri Department of Transportation. October 2019. Guidelines on setting speed limits for Missouri Department of Transportation

Speed Zoning for Highways, Roads, and Streets in Florida. Florida Department of Transportation. Topic #750-010-002. March 2010. This report summarizes bases for setting speed zones.

Speed Limit Guidelines. North Dakota Department of Transportation. September 2015. Describes the North Dakota's DOT process for setting speed limit transitions zones.

Policy for Speed Limit Review/Request. City of Shorewood, Minnesota. June 2015. Describes the City of Shorewood's process for setting speed limit transitions zones.

Forbes, G.J., T. Gardner, H. McGee, and R. Srinivasan. Methods and Practices for Setting Speed Limits: An Informational Report. FHWA-SA-12-004. Federal Highway Administration. April 2012. This publication describes primary practices and methods to set speed limits.


Dixon, K., H. Zhu, J. Ogle, J. Brooks, C. Hein, P. Aklluir, and M. Crisler. Determining Effective Roadway Design Treatments for Transitioning from Rural Areas to Urban Areas on State Highways. Oregon Department of Transportation. FHWA-OR-RD-09-02. September 2008. This publication provides a review of countermeasures for rural-to-urban transitions zones using a simulator study.

Bloomberg, R.D. and A.M. Cleven. Pilot Test of Heed the Speed, a Program to Reduce Speeds in Residential Neighborhoods. DOT HS 810 648. National Highway Traffic Safety Administration. August 2006. This report discusses a pilot study in Phoenix and Philadelphia.

Hein, C. Comparison of Effectiveness of Roadway Design Treatments for Transitioning from Rural Areas to Urban Areas Using a Driving Simulator. Thesis. Clemson University. 2007. This thesis discusses six different countermeasures tested in a driving simulator.

Sandberg, W., T. Schoenecker, K. Sebastian, and D. Soler. Long-Term Effectiveness of Dynamic Speed Monitoring Displays for Speed Management at Speed Limit Transitions. This report evaluates dynamic speed feedback sign in transition zones (rural and urban).

FIldes, B., B. Corben, S. Newstead, J. Macaulay, T. Gunatillake, and M. Tziotis. Perceptual Countermeasures to Speeding. 49th Annual Proceedings Association for the Advancement of Automotive Medicine. Sept. 2005. This proceedings document evaluates transverse edgelines at the approach to an intersection.

URS. Traffic Calming Report. November 2013. United Kingdom and Ireland. This report offers a detailed description of most European style speed management countermeasures.

Traffic Calming. Local Transport Note 1/07. March 2007. Department for Transport, United Kingdom. This report offers a summary table of various countermeasures used in the United Kingdom.

Dutta, N., M.D. Fontaine, R.A. Boateng, and M. Campbell. Evaluation of the Impact of the I-66 Active Traffic Management System: Phase II. Report No. VTRC 19-R7. Virginia Department of Transportation. Richmond, Virginia, October 2018.


Wisconsin Statewide Speed Management Guidelines. Wisconsin Department of Transportation. June 2009. This document describes guidelines for transitional speed zones in terms of length and characteristics.

Alabama Speed Management Manual. Alabama Department of Transportation. October 2015. This manual provides information on data collection and countermeasures for speed management.

Guidelines for Traffic Calming. City of Sparks Public Works, Nevada. January 2007. These guidelines include a methodology for application and approval of countermeasures as well as a summary of countermeasures.

Brown, D. Effective Application of Traffic Calming Techniques. Caltrans Division of Research and Innovation. September 2011. This document summarizes traffic calming guidance from several states. The report summarizes background, traffic calming policies, types of treatments, and legal issues.

Main Streets: Flexibility in Design and Operations. California Department of Transportation. January 2005. This booklet includes information on common countermeasures and performance measures; its focus is on developing state highways that are also local main streets.

Delaware Traffic Calming Design Manual. Delaware Department of Transportation. 2012. This manual outlines the needs and process for a traffic calming plan.

Maine DOT Guidelines for Use of Traffic Calming Devices. This proposed policy includes traffic calming guidelines but does not address data, rural, or transition zones.

Mass Highway. Traffic Calming and Traffic Management, Chapter 16. 2006. This chapter includes speed management guidelines.

Smart Transportation Guidebook. Pennsylvania and New Jersey Department of Transportation. March 2008. Discusses a section on rural, town, and village neighborhood speed management.

Traffic Calming Study and Approval Process for State Highways. Vermont Agency of Transportation. September 2003. This study includes information about planning, evaluating, and implementation traffic calming projects on state highways in Vermont.

Traffic Calming Guide for Local Residential Streets. Virginia Department of Transportation, Traffic Engineering Division. October 2002, July 2008. This guide describes a speed management process for local streets.

Pennsylvania's Traffic Calming Handbook. Pennsylvania Department of Transportation. Pub 383 (7-12). July 2012. This handbook describes study and approval process, data collection metrics, and speed management countermeasures.

Torbic, D.J., D.K. Gilmore, K.M. Bauer, C.D. Bokenkroger, D.W. Harwood, L.M. Lucas, R. J. Frazier, C.S. Kinzel, D.L. Petree, and M.D. Forsberg. NCHRP Report 737: Design Guidance for High-Speed to Low-speed Transition Zones for Rural Highways. Transportation Research Board. Washington, DC. 2012. This study developed design guidance for high to low speed transition zones and conducted studies on several transition zone treatments. Additionally, the study summarized international guidelines on use of treatments.

Safe Road Design—A Practical Manual, Public Works, and Water Management, the Netherlands, September 2005. Safe Road Design - A Practical Manual (World Bank and Dutch Ministry of Transportation, 2005) This manual provides a summary on the use of speed reduction measures in the Netherlands.

Bagdade, J., D. Nabors, H. McGee, R. Miller, and R. Retting. Speed Management: A Manual for Local Rural Road Owners. FHWA Office of Safety. FHWA-SA-12-027. November 2012. Provides a definition of speed metric: design speed, operating speed, posted speed. The process for conducting a speed management program is also described. The study also has an appendix on how to conduct speed studies using traffic counters, time-measured zone, radar LIDAR.


Eccles, K.A., B. Persuad, C. Lyon, and G. Hansen. NCHRP Report 729: Automated Enforcement for Speeding and Red Light Running. Transportation Research Board, Washington DC. 2012. The report provides some guidance on the initiation and operation of an automated enforcement program. The guidance was developed based on a survey of agencies, field visits, a literature review, and author experience. It covers planning, enabling legislation, violation enforcement, use of revenue, evaluation, and technology.

Eccles, K.A. "Automated Enforcement for Speeding and Red Light Running." TR News. May 2014. Summarizes information from NCHRP 729.

Pedestrian and Bicycle Information Center. An Overview of Automated Enforcement Systems and Their Potential for Improving Pedestrian and Bicyclist Safety. Summarizes impacts of speeding and red-light running on pedestrians and bicyclists. Summarizes studies which evaluated automated enforcement programs. Results of 13 studies found a statistically significant reduction in crashes after introduction of automated speed enforcement with an estimated 20 to 25 percent reduction. A study of covert or unmarked enforcement programs in Australia and Canada also found a 20 to 25 percent reduction in crashes. Other studies found ASE reduced mean speeds by 11 mph or more for 65 mph speed limit roads. One study found a speed reduction of 3 to 8 mph in work zones. A study in Canada found reductions crashes for urban arterials with speed limits of 50 km/h (31 mph). The report also summarized methods to enhance effectiveness of automated enforcement including addressing legal issues and public opinion.

Speed Enforcement Camera Systems Operational Guidelines. National Highway Transportation Safety Administration, US Department of Transportation. DOT HS 810 916. March 2008. The study provides guidelines for use of speed enforcement cameras. The advantages and disadvantages compared to traditional speed enforcement were highlighted. The report also studies which evaluated the effectiveness of ASE. The report provides guidance on legal/ policy authority, planning, identifying a speeding-related issue, developing a strategic plan, selecting a countermeasure, obtaining interagency and community support, selection of equipment, addressing media coverage, setting enforcement thresholds, processing violations, and program evaluation.

Miller, R.J., J.S. Osberg, R. Retting, M. Ballou, and R. Atkins. System Analysis of Automated Speed Enforcement Implementation. National Highway Transportation Safety Administration, US Department of Transportation. DOT HS 812 257. April 2016. The study contacted currently operating and recently discontinued ASE to determine whether their programs were consistent with NHTSA guidelines, Speed Enforcement Camera Systems Operational Guidelines. This included a survey of 11 states. The report summarized overall results.

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