Speeding Vehicles in Residential Areas A Curriculum Developed by Rana Sampson Companion training curriculum to the Speeding in Residential Areas Problem-Oriented Policing Guide developed by Michael S. Scott
Speeding Problems in Residential Areas This project was supported by Cooperative Agreement #2001CKWXK051 by the U.S. Department of Justice Office of Community Oriented Policing Services. Points of view or opinions contained in this document are those of the presenter and do not necessarily represent the official position or policies of the U.S. Department of Justice. • In communities across the country, one of the most common community complaints is of speeding vehicles in residential areas, even in areas where crime problems appear more serious.
Why do community residents care so much about speeding vehicles in their neighborhoods?
How Does it Increase the Risk of Crashes and Injuries? • The driver is more likely to lose control of the vehicle • The vehicle safety equipment is less effective at higher speeds • The distance it takes to stop the vehicle is greater • The vehicle travels farther during the time it takes the driver to react to the hazard • Crashes are more severe at higher speeds
Speeding – Force of Impact • Even modestly higher speeds can mean the difference between life and death for a pedestrian hit by a vehicle • The force of impact on the body is more than one-third greater at 35 mph than at 30 mph • Each 1-mph reduction in average speed translates roughly to a 5% reduction in vehicle crashes
Speeders and Crashes • Speeders are disproportionately involved in vehicle crashes • Speeding is a contributing factor in • 1/8 of all crashes, and • 1/3 of all fatal crashes
Where Do Most Crashes Occur? • Rural • Suburban • Urban • Why?
What contributes to speeding? • Popular culture? • Road design? • Driver beliefs? • Societal views of accidents?
Why Do Drivers Speed? • Many drivers admit to speeding. • What do drivers tell you about why they speed?
Drivers’ Perceptions • The most important factors in a driver’s choice to speed is the driver’s perception of the road environment and the speed that he or she thinks it is safe to drive • Drivers make calculated decisions to speed, creating opportunities for police to alter their calculations
Given that speeding is such a common community complaint, does the current police response to it reflect how serious it is to community members? • In your community, do citizens know how to report speeding problems? Whom to call, whom to speak to? • What kind of response do community members get when they call about speeding vehicles on their street? • Do the most common responses work? If so, for how long?
What training do officers receive in addressing speeding problems? • ______________ • ______________ • ______________ • What more would be useful? • ______________________ • ______________________
Generally, There Are Four Strategies Used To Address Speeding • Education • Enforcement • Regulatory • Engineering
The 85th Percentile • The common standard for a posted speed limit is the 85th percentile. It is the speed on a specific street at or below which 85 percent of vehicles travel. • Motorists adjust their speeds for what is reasonable on a street, so the 85th percentile sets the speed to that traveled by most motorists. • The 85th percentile legalizes the vast majority of motorists driving. • Lowering speed limits below the 85th percentile does not significantly affect speeds or accidents.
How Do Jurisdictions Determine the 85th Percentile? • Some don’t, they may set some streets at artificially low speed limits, often because of community pressure
There are Different Types of Residential Streets • A Local Street – A street whose primary function is access to adjacent properties – these residential streets are often posted 25 mph • A Collector Street – A street for which vehicle movement and access are of equal importance – these residential streets may be posted 35 mph • An Arterial Street – A major street for which the primary function is to provide vehicle movement
What We Know • Education • Enforcement • Regulation • Engineering
Education • Neighborhood Safety Campaigns • Community Letters • Warnings • Community Meetings • Radar Speed Display Trailers • Neighborhood Speed Watch • Neighborhood Signage
A sample community letter – its intent is to gain the public’s voluntary compliance in reducing residential speeding
Neighborhood Safety Campaigns • It is the least coercive means of trying to gain compliance with neighborhood speed limits • However, there is little empirical evidence to support that compliance is gained beyond a short period of time • If highly targeted, it can have some impact
Highly Targeted Neighborhood Safety Campaign – Raleigh, NC • Examined prior year’s citations at The Drive -- they had issued 300 speeding tickets in this one 25 mph school zone • The average speed of citations was 38 mph • 11% were for speeds exceeding 45 mph • The Police surveyed speeders and found that most were parents of school-aged children • Erected temporary speed signs to flash vehicle speeds • Placed speeding info in PTA newsletter • Distributed educational flyers to students’ parents
Measuring Effectiveness - Raleigh • Campaign resulted in immediate reduction in speeding -- average speeds fell to 31 mph from 38 mph • The proportion of drivers complying with the speed limit (including a 5 mph tolerance) more than doubled after the educational effort, although by the end of the first week some of the impact deteriorated • Three weeks after the educational campaign there remained about a 50% increase in compliance from the compliance rate calculated during the analysis phase of the project
May slow speeds during the time the display is in place (mixed results). On low volume streets, repeated use of the trailer may reduce speeds on the street by about 5% for as long as 30 days after Radar Speed Display Trailers Photo Credit: Tony Mazzela Traffic Calming: State of the Practice
Neighborhood Speed Watch • Residents borrow radar guns from police, check speeds and write down the make, model and license plates of speeders • Police send warning letters to these speeders reminding them of the speed limit and reasons to reduce their speed Effectiveness • Near negligible effect • More a “resident calming” approach as residents tend to feel better after they do it
Neighborhood Yard Signs • Anti-speeding campaigns developed at the grass-roots level are potentially more effective than official campaigns. • Neighborhood yard signs, with different “slow down” anti-speeding messages can convey more heartfelt messages to speeders. Slow Down! Protect our Kids Brought to you by your neighbors For more information call … Slow Down For our Children Brought to you by the Kensington neighborhood For more information call …
Play video segment • Neighborhood Safety Campaign video segment
Informing Complainants About Actual Speeds • Complainants often inaccurately estimate speeds • Speeds seem faster to a stationary pedestrian watching from a front yard • What’s the best way to deal with this?
Play video segment • Busy Residential Street video segment
Simply Lowering Speed Limits • Some residents ask the police to lower the posted speed on their street • Lowering speed limits has the general effect of reducing speeds by one-quarter of the speed limit reduction • Reducing the posted speed limit from 25 mph to 20 mph will reduce average speeds by about 1 mph
What Do We Know About How Well Enforcement Works? • Education • Enforcement • Regulation • Engineering
Enforcement • It can have impact during enforcement • Speeds revert to previous levels soon after enforcement • Residential streets are more amenable to traffic calming (discussed later in this presentation)
Enforcement – Alerting the Public? Discuss the pros and cons of each approach • Some police agencies alert the community • Some police agencies specifically name the streets they’ll be ticketing • Some agencies simply say it will be in a certain general area • Some agencies explain why they will be enforcing at certain locations (e.g., high number of crashes, high level of community complaints) • Some agencies do these alerts on the morning radio
Speed Enforcement Has the Greatest Effect … • If drivers believe it is likely to occur, and • It is meaningfully costly to offenders, and • Enforcement is associated with driving in general, rather than any specific time of day or roadways,and • If enforcement is not associated with any specific cues that signal the presence or absence of enforcement efforts.
Is There An Incentive System for Traffic Officers? • How are they evaluated in your jurisdiction? • What if their goal was to maintain reduced average speeds in a specific geographic area of responsibility, what would change?
What Do We Know About Photo Radar Speed Enforcement? Method: Radar gun with camera attached. Camera catches the speeding vehicle and the vehicle’s license plate and vehicle owner is sent a ticket • Some states allow this, others do not • Can be expensive, may be about $4,000 a month to lease equipment but is effective in reducing speeds and collisions • Research says that it is best used on high volume streets with collision problems
What Do We Know About Regulation? • Education • Enforcement • Regulation • Engineering
What About Regulatory Measures to Reduce Speeding, Do They Work? • Common Regulatory Measures • Stop Signs • Speed Limit Signs • Turn Limits • One-Way Streets
What Do We Know About Stop Signs? • The consensus among traffic engineers is that stop signs should not be used as speed control measures • Research shows that on a stop-signed block, motorist do not slow to the speed limit at mid-block and they often do a rolling stop once they come to the stop sign • Research also shows that some drivers even speed up between stop signs to make up for lost time at the stop sign
Play video segment • Moraga Avenue video segment
Speed Limit Signs • Speed limit signs should reflect the 85 percentile to be effective. • Painting speed limits or “SLOW” on the road surface, in combination with posting roadside signs, can help reduce speeds. • And remember, lowering speed limits below the 85th percentile for that street does not significantly reduce speeds or accidents.
Play video segment • 800 Rutgers video segment
What Do We Know AboutTurn Restrictions? • More a volume reducer than speed reducer • Best used at high volume hours
What Do We Know AboutThe Effect Of One-Way Streets? • Research suggests that one-way streets may in fact increase speeds • Two-way streets, on the other hand, tend to reduce speeds because drivers take into account on-coming traffic in their calculation of whether to speed
What Do We Know About The Effect of Engineering on Speeding Problems in Residential Areas? • Education • Enforcement • Regulation • Engineering
Traffic Calming • Traffic calming is an approach to reducing vehicle speeds and vehicle volume on particular streets or in particular areas. Traffic calming describes a wide range of road and environmental design changes that either make it: • more difficult for a vehicle to speed, or • make drivers believe they should slow down for safety. • Traffic calming measures are particularly effective at reducing speeds in residential areas.
What Traffic Calming is not … Stop signs, signals, and speed limit signs are not traffic calming as they require enforcement. Traffic calming is intended to be self-enforcing.
Traffic Calming History • Began in Europe in 1960s as a grass roots movement to slow traffic on residential streets • Design engineers picked it up in the 1970s and were able to design “slow streets” • Applied it also to some European highways and arterial streets in 1980s
Traffic Calming in U.S. • Some traffic calming as early as 1960s sprung up in several U.S. cities • Cities such as Berkeley, Seattle, and Portland had early versions of it • Many other cities now routinely use traffic calming • Traffic calming efforts now exist in each of the 50 states
Traffic Calming Results • Speeds reduced • In some cases accidents reduced • In many cases, severity of accidents reduced • In some cases traffic volume reduced • In area-wide traffic calming schemes traffic volume not displaced, and vehicle speeds reduced