Speed management programs and plans provide a framework for how to create safety and mobility for all road users in the context of specific road conditions and across a vast road network. The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) Uniform Guidelines for State Highway Safety Programs, Highway Safety Program Guideline No. 19 states “speed management involves a balanced program effort that includes: defining the relationship between speed, speeding, and safety; applying road design and engineering measures to obtain appropriate speeds; setting speed limits that are safe and reasonable, applying enforcement efforts and appropriate technology that effectively address speeders and deter speeding; marketing, communication, and educational messages that focus on high-risk drivers; and soliciting the cooperation, support, and leadership of traffic safety stakeholders.” The FHWA Speed Management Guidebook states that a speed management program is a strategy to address concerns of undesirable speeds at a specific location, along a corridor, or within a road network.
Speed management programs and plans guide and implement speed management activities that should be pursued across multiple jurisdictions and/or departments responsible for speed and safety. At a minimum, departments and partners with the jurisdiction that handle policy, planning, engineering, enforcement, education, public health and maintenance should be involved in creating a speed management program and plan. The Federal Highway Administration (FHWA) Speed Management Guidebook states that the program should be comprehensive and should address all factors that influence speeding: public awareness, user behavior, roadway design, surrounding land uses, traffic conditions, posted speed limits, and enforcement. Further, speed management programs should include the following attributes:
A speed management program should include, at a minimum engineering, enforcement, education, and emergency services, commonly referred to as the 4 Es of safety:
Some speed management programs are considering other Es in their speed management plans. Jurisdictions sometimes consider evaluation, environment, and equity when appropriate in a local community.
The process for implementing a speed management program is described in several resources. With some variations, these resources outline the following elements of a successful speed management program:
An outcome of a speed management program should be a plan of action which delineates specific activities to be pursued. In the World Health Organization’s Speed Management: A Road Safety Manual for Decision-Makers and Practitioners guidance is provided on how to design and implement a speed management system and specifically how to prepare a plan of action. The FHWA Safety Program’s Speed Management Action Plan Template, Problem Identification, Solutions, Implementation, Evaluation includes a template that can be used by state and local agencies in developing jurisdiction-specific speed management plans. Additionally, FHWA provides technical assistance to jurisdictions needing assistance in creating a speed management plan through the Roadway Safety Professional Capacity Building Technical Assistance program. Below are a few local, regional and state speed management action plans from across the US that can be used as examples:
You can learn more about recent efforts to create speed management programs in the FHWA/ITE Noteworthy Speed Management Practices guide. It provides an avenue of information for practitioners, summarizing eight case studies that highlight noteworthy practices over a range of speed management issues.