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Study confirms raising posted speed is appropriate

December 1, 2012
By DAVE WERNER ( , Franklin County Traffic Safety Board

If you are a consistent reader of these weekly articles, you are aware of the importance of the 85th percentile speed (the speed at or below which 85 percent of the free-flowing vehicles travel) in setting speed zones. The term "free-flowing vehicles" means that drivers are not impeded by other vehicles and, therefore, are assumed to be operating at their desired speed at the measurement location. You might remember that it is a proven fact that many drivers will drive what they perceive to be an appropriate and safe speed, given the characteristics of the street, road, or highway, and weather conditions regardless of what the posted speed limit is signed. The consensus of traffic engineers throughout the country is that the value for a speed limit should be that indicated by the 85th percentile traffic speed (to the nearest 5 mph).



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