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Pilot test of Heed the Speed, a program to reduce speeds in residential neighborhoods
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    Final report
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  • Abstract:
    There is abundant evidence that higher speeds are associated with more severe pedestrian injuries and increased death. Speeding is generally more dangerous for pedestrians on residential roads than on other roadways. There has been significant work on engineering approaches to traffic calming as a means of reducing neighborhood speeds. There have, however, been few attempts to combine public information, enforcement and innovative marking techniques with engineering changes as a means of achieving greater speed reductions. Some communities have used traffic calming on selected streets in a neighborhood but left others untouched because of objections voiced by emergency services. This has created streets within a defined calmed neighborhood where motorists continue to exceed prudent speeds – or at least exceed the speeds on adjacent calmed streets. The focus of the current study was therefore to determine whether enforcement and education techniques could achieve a meaningful speed reduction on untreated streets adjacent to streets that have received traffic calming treatments. Three neighborhoods each in two cities, Phoenix and Peoria, Arizona, were selected for a Heed the Speed program based on the expressed desire of the residents to moderate vehicle speeds and/or a history of excessive speeding. Multiple roads were part of the study in some of the 6 areas. Yard signs, pamphlets, and other education materials were distributed to area residents. The police increased enforcement patrols and tickets for speeding violations. They also added numerous “warning stops” for motorists exceeding the speed limit but below the range at which a stop would normally be made. Speed tables or speed humps were added in two of the neighborhoods in the middle of the 3-6 month campaign. Innovative pavement markings that created the illusion of impediments were tried in three of the neighborhoods. The program was evaluated by a pre/post mailed survey, by police data forms completed at each stop and by multiple waves of speed measurements using on-road traffic counters. The survey showed a strong increase in knowledge of the program, awareness of enforcement efforts and acceptance of the need to moderate speeds. Respondents also expressed a strong belief that speeds in their neighborhood had decreased since the Heed the Speed program was implemented. The police stop records showed that most violators were neighborhood residents. Speed measurements showed significant reductions in all 6 neighborhoods and on all test roads within the neighborhoods except one low volume street with pre-existing speed humps installed. The baseline speeds on this street were already well below the prevailing 25 mph speed limit and did not change significantly after the treatments. On all other treated roads, there was a significant increase in drivers complying with the speed limit and significant reductions in mean speed and in the percentage of vehicles doing 7 mph or more above the speed limit. Compliance increases ranged from 17% to over 117%. Mean speed reductions ranged from approximately 0.5 mph to over 3.5 mph. The drop in the percentage of drivers exceeding the speed limit by 7 mph or more ranged from about 14% to over 70%. The extent of the speed reduction involving thousands of vehicles per day suggests that Heed the Speed programs could be effective in reducing crashes to pedestrians and in limiting the injury severity when a crash does occur. /Abstract from report summary page/

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