Effectiveness of Certain Design Solutions on Reducing Vehicle Speeds

According to the National Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA), speeding is one of the most prevalent reported factors associated with crashes. Speed is a factor in 30 percent of all fatal crashes, killing an average of 1,000 Americans every month. NHTSA estimates the economic cost to society of speed related crashes to be $28 billion each year. Health care costs alone are about $4 billion per year. There was a total of 1,270 speed related fatalities in 1999 in all 50 states where the posted speed limit was less than 35 miles per hour. In New Jersey there were 22 speed related fatalities where the posted speed limit was less than 35 miles per hour. The total speed related fatalities on all roadways in New Jersey in 1999 was 69. This information was taken from the CD titled "Speed Management Resources" that was issued September 2001 by FHWA, Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration and the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration. This research project is intended to explore various design solutions that will reduce vehicle speeds, especially in business and residential areas. The effects of the various speed reduction solutions in a before installation of speed reduction techniques and after the installation of the techniques will be studied in a follow on project. The installation(s) will be done by NJDOT in a maintenance and/or construction contract after this project has been completed. The effects of the various treatments before and after speeds of motorists will have to be determined in the human factors study at each site. Accident records will be reviewed to determine the locations where speed related fatalities occurred. Such treatments as curb extensions, landscaping, lane striping, roadway narrowing, etc., should be investigated. Increased safety for the pedestrian, bicyclist and the motorist; context sensitive design, bicycle and pedestrian friendly roadways and intersections are the expected benefits. There are roadway construction and marking standards and specifications that might prevent curb extensions, lane width reduction and standards that specifies lane restriping, the placement of landscaping, etc. These will need to be evaluated for revision.