Speed Management

Speed management techniques aimed at persuading drivers to adopt safe speeds include police enforcement, driver education, speed limits and engineering treatments.

Engineering treatments include:

Speed humps and raised platforms

Low profile raised structures on the road (such as speed humps) can be effective in slowing drivers down, especially in urban areas and locations where there are likely to be pedestrians. Speed humps, raised platforms and other traffic calming techniques are best used as part of an area-wide approach to speed management rather than in isolation. They require careful design and placement to maximise their effectiveness.

Gateway treatments

Gateways or threshold treatments are used to mark a change in speed environment, including the transition from a high speed road to a lower speed environment such as a village. Gateway treatments usually include pavement markings to narrow the perceived width of road, large speed limit signs and pavement markings and other features (such as traffic islands and landscaping) to indicate that a threshold is being crossed.

Roundabouts

Higher speed traffic must slow to pass through well designed roundabouts and these can be used as a speed management device. For further information, see the Intersection - Roundabout treatment page.

Pavement narrowings and treatments at curves

Drivers tend to travel faster on wider roads, possibly because they perceive less risk of running into roadside objects. Narrower pavements tend to slow traffic. Even narrowing the perceived lane width using painted markings can achieve moderately slower speeds.

Speed limit reviews

Ideally vehicle speeds will be appropriate for the type and quality of the road, the mix of road users and the surrounding environment. Speed limits must reflect the function of a road and the prevailing road users at a given location. The setting of appropriate speed limits along with effective enforcement, plus the suitable design elements of the road infrastructure to reflect the desired speed limits are key elements of a successful speed management initiative. Refer to the WHO Speed Management - Good practice guide for further information.

  • Reductions in travel speeds save lives and prevent injuries.
  • Lower speeds can reduce the severity of all crash types.
  • Reduced speeds will also reduce the likelihood of many crash types occurring.
  • Improves safety for vulnerable road users such as pedestrians and cyclists.
  • The wider benefits of reducing speeds include improved fuel consumption, lower greenhouse gas emissions and less traffic noise.
  • Speed limits should be consistent and aligned to the function, standard and use of the road.
  • Speed humps and other devices need to be well designed to provide maximum safety benefits (see Technical References for details).
  • Traffic calming devices can impede emergency vehicles and cause discomfort for bus passengers.
  • Community support and consultation is recommended before speed limits are changed or speed reducing features are installed.
  • Some treatment types can act as roadside hazards.
  • Speed limits should seem realistic and credible so that drivers will adhered to them.

Benefits

  • Reductions in travel speeds save lives and prevent injuries.
  • Lower speeds can reduce the severity of all crash types.
  • Reduced speeds will also reduce the likelihood of many crash types occurring.
  • Improves safety for vulnerable road users such as pedestrians and cyclists.
  • The wider benefits of reducing speeds include improved fuel consumption, lower greenhouse gas emissions and less traffic noise.

Implementation issues

  • Speed limits should be consistent and aligned to the function, standard and use of the road.
  • Speed humps and other devices need to be well designed to provide maximum safety benefits (see Technical References for details).
  • Traffic calming devices can impede emergency vehicles and cause discomfort for bus passengers.
  • Community support and consultation is recommended before speed limits are changed or speed reducing features are installed.
  • Some treatment types can act as roadside hazards.
  • Speed limits should seem realistic and credible so that drivers will adhered to them.

Did you know?

For every 1km/h reduction in average speed, there is a 2% reduction in the number of crashes

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Treatment Summary

Costs
Medium
Treatment life
5 years - 10 years
Effectiveness
25-40%

References

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