[Federal Register Volume 66, Number 106 (Friday, June 1, 2001)]
[Pages 29855-29861]
From the Federal Register Online via the Government Publishing Office [www.gpo.gov]
[FR Doc No: 01-13721]



Federal Highway Administration

National Highway Traffic Safety Administration

Discretionary Cooperative Agreements To Support the Demonstration 
and Evaluation of Setting and Enforcing Rational Speed Limits

AGENCY: National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA), Federal 
Highway Administration (FHWA), DOT.

ACTION: Announcement of discretionary cooperative agreements to support 
the demonstration and evaluation of setting and enforcing rational 
speed limits.


SUMMARY: The Speed Management Team of the U.S. Department of 
Transportation (U.S. DOT), a multi-modal body including members from 
FHWA and NHTSA, will fund a number

[[Page 29856]]

of cooperative agreements with states or localities to field test the 
impact of setting and enforcing rational speed limits. The goal of the 
project is to evaluate a cooperative program in which engineering, 
enforcement, and education are undertaken in a coordinated manner to 
manage traffic speeds. Rational speed limits promote public safety by 
providing drivers with information to help them choose a reasonable and 
prudent speed that is appropriate for the normal traffic, weather, and 
roadway conditions. Speed limits are set with the objective of 
achieving a balance between safety and efficiency. Rational speed 
limits are determined through a formal review that uses the 85th 
percentile speed of free-flowing traffic combined with information on 
roadway geometry, crash characteristics and land use. This procedure 
results in a speed limit that appears reasonable to most drivers and 
thereby results in more uniform speeds. Previous research has suggested 
that speed uniformity is associated with lower crash risk and that the 
85th percentile falls within the speed range of lower crash risk. 
Consequently, strict enforcement of rational speed limits, focused on 
flagrant speed limit violators and designed to minimize speed variance, 
may help in promoting safer travel. In addition, an effective public 
information and education campaign will help citizens understand how 
the speed limits were determined and the reason for their strict 
enforcement. Such a combined approach is expected to result in strong 
support from the public, the police, and the judiciary.
    Cooperative agreements will be awarded to support a number of 
communities in developing and evaluating innovative speed management 
projects that adopt such a rational speed limit approach. The approach 
will incorporate the following steps:
     An engineering and traffic investigation of existing speed 
     Revision of speed limits where appropriate.
     Education of the public on reasons for revising speed 
     Enforcement of the rational speed limits fairly and 
     Identification of a separate community for comparison 
    This notice solicits applications from State and local governments 
and their agencies. Two to four cooperative agreement awards for 
demonstration and evaluation projects are anticipated under this 
announcement. Interested applicants must submit an application package 
as further described in the Application Procedures section of this 
notice. Applications will be evaluated on the basis of the criteria 
identified in the Evaluation Criteria section of this notice.

DATES: Applications must be received at the office designated below on 
or before 4:00 p.m. on Tuesday, July 24, 2001.

ADDRESSES: Applications must be submitted to the National Highway 
Traffic Safety Administration, Office of Contracts and Procurement 
(NAD-30), ATTN: Maxine Ware, 400 7th Street, SW., Room 5301, 
Washington, DC 20590. All applications submitted must include a 
reference to NHTSA Cooperative Agreement Program No. DTNH22-01-H-05221.

FOR FURTHER INFORMATION CONTACT: General administrative questions may 
be directed to Maxine Ware, Office of Contracts and Procurement at 
(202) 366-4843. Technical questions relating to this Cooperative 
Agreement Program may be directed to Paul J. Tremont, Ph.D., Office of 
Research and Traffic Records (NTS-31), NHTSA, 400 7th Street, SW., 
Washington, DC 20590, or by e-mail at [email protected], or by 
phone (202) 366-5587. Interested applicants are advised that no 
separate application package exists beyond the contents of this 




    Speed limits promote public safety by informing drivers of the 
maximum reasonable and prudent speed for each road segment. The speed 
limit should represent a concerted attempt to balance safety and travel 
efficiency. As such, it establishes a rational basis for enforcement to 
target violators traveling at unsafe speeds. Posted speed limits seek 
to confine speeds beneath an upper bound and produce a relatively 
uniform speed distribution. Previous research has suggested that speed 
uniformity among vehicles on a roadway is associated with lower crash 
risk. Rational speed limits are primarily based on existing traffic 
speed data and often take into account adjustments for roadway 
conditions, crashes, and land use.

General Principles

    A guiding principle for setting rational speed limits is that they 
should provide a high level of compliance and consequently be largely 
self-enforcing. This requires that drivers understand the basis for the 
limit and that it appears to be reasonable. Such rational speed limits 
help to establish a reasonable standard for enforcement and permit 
authorities to concentrate enforcement efforts on those more flagrant 
speed limit violators and high-risk drivers who are likely to create 
unsafe situations. Achieving high compliance will require an effective 
combination of Public Information and Education (PI&E) and dedicated 
enforcement. For this cooperative agreement program, the recipient will 
be required to determine rational speed limits using the engineering 
study procedure described in ``Guidelines for Setting Safe and 
Reasonable Speed Limits''. (Appendix A).

Elements of Speed Management

    Managing speeds depends on the integration of three key elements: 
engineering, enforcement, and education. The prevailing speed 
engineering study is frequently cited as the desired way to achieve 
high compliance with what drivers choose as reasonable speed limits. 
For this approach, the 85th percentile of the distribution of free-
flowing vehicle speeds is used as the starting point for setting the 
rational speed limit. To establish credibility of the rational speed 
limits program, a rigorous enforcement program must be developed and 
systematically applied. Finally, in order to gain full compliance of 
rational speed limits, the public must understand the basis for their 
setting and realize that they will be rigorously enforced. To achieve 
this, the community must also develop an effective PI&E program.

Additional Resources

    The following is a list of resources for information on setting and 
enforcing rational speed limits. Copies are available upon request from 
Paul Tremont, the designated technical point of contact.
     Committee for Guidance on Setting and Enforcing Speed 
Limits. (1998) Managing Speed: Review of Current Practice for Setting 
and Enforcing Speed Limits. Special Report 254. Transportation Research 
Board, National Research Council, National Academy Press. Washington, 
     Institute for Transportation Engineers. (1993) Speed Zone 
Guidelines: A Proposed Recommended Practice. Institute of 
Transportation Engineers: Washington DC.


    The objective of these demonstration and evaluation projects is to 
determine the extent to which rationally established, well-publicized, 
and rigorously enforced speed limits lead to

[[Page 29857]]

higher compliance and improved traffic flow, without reducing highway 

Description of Program Effort

    General Requirements. This cooperative agreement program requires 
each recipient to conduct a carefully planned demonstration of setting 
and enforcing rational speed limits. The recipient shall designate a 
specific demonstration community (or group of communities). A 
demonstration community is the geopolitical area where the rational 
speed limit demonstration will take place. This could be a State, a 
county, a city, a township, a borough, or any defined geographic entity 
or group of geographic entities within the United States with a clear 
governing body. The recipient will conduct an engineering study of 
selected road segments and revise the speed limits on those road 
segments using a rational speed limits approach to manage speeds. The 
recipient will implement and maintain a speed enforcement program and 
provide public information in the demonstration community to fully 
inform drivers of both the speed management program's rationale and the 
planned enforcement program. The recipient will collect data on speeds 
as well as on public outreach and enforcement throughout the 
demonstration period.
    The recipient shall also designate, or at least suggest, a similar 
community with comparable road segments that could be used as a 
comparison site during this demonstration. These two communities must 
be separated geographically so that the demonstration community's speed 
management program does not influence driver behavior in the comparison 
community. Below is a listing and description of specific requirements.

Planning Phase

Task 1. Kickoff Meeting
    Within two weeks of award, a one-day meeting will be held at U.S. 
DOT headquarters in Washington, DC, during which the recipient will 
conduct an informal briefing of its demonstration plan, including a 
discussion of the preliminary list of demonstration streets and 
Task 2. Prepare Work Plan
    Based on comments from U.S. DOT at the meeting, the recipient will 
prepare and submit a final work plan and project schedule in accordance 
with the schedule of deliverables. The work plan shall specify type and 
amount of data to be collected, procedures and equipment to be used, 
and plans for engineering, enforcement and PI&E. The work plan shall 
also include the final list of demonstration streets and highways along 
with the name or route number, start and end point, mileage, existing 
posted speed(s), functional class of road and area type. The 
demonstration roads may include a mix of existing road types, including 
arterials, collectors, and local roads. Interstates and other 
controlled access roads are excluded from this effort.
Task 3. Conduct Engineering Studies
    Conduct an engineering and traffic investigation on the 
demonstration roads using the engineering analysis described in 
Appendix A and/or other U.S. DOT approved methods. Speeds should be 
collected continuously for at least 24 hours using automated equipment 
capable of recording individual vehicle speeds and identifying free 
flowing vehicles (i.e. headway or gap greater than 3-5 seconds). Based 
on the findings from the engineering study, prepare a speed-zoning plan 
and obtain necessary approvals for the speed zoning changes. A copy of 
the speed zoning plan will be submitted to the U.S. DOT in accordance 
with the schedule of deliverables.
Task 4. Collect Other Baseline Data
    Collect enforcement and other data to help establish baseline 
measures, including:
     Citations for speeding on selected road segments,
     Crashes for the previous 3-5 years, including details of 
crash types, contributing factors, and citations issued,
     Average daily traffic volume corresponding to same years 
as the crash data, and
     Public attitudes and perceptions toward speed limits and 
    A letter report will be prepared documenting the results this 
activity. The letter report will be submitted in accordance with the 
schedule of deliverables.

Implementation Phase

Task 5. Develop and Implement Public Information and Education (PI&E) 
    Each demonstration community will be required to develop and 
implement a PI&E campaign intended to inform the public of the program, 
heighten awareness of the expected benefits, and encourage compliance 
with the new speed limits. The expectation is that with a more 
comprehensive understanding of the rational basis for the speed limits, 
drivers will be more likely to comply with them and less overall 
opposition will be encountered from the community. Accomplishing the 
PI&E objective requires that key public agencies and public figures 
support the program and implement it in an effective manner. The PI&E 
campaign for the demonstration community will include those elements 
outlined in ``Guidelines for Public Information and Education Programs 
for Rational Speed Limits'' (Appendix B). The recipient is required to 
prepare a calendar schedule of PI&E activities (i.e., press 
conferences, media materials, etc.) in accordance with the schedule of 
deliverables. All PI&E materials and products should be presented to 
the U.S. DOT for review and comments in accordance with the schedule of 
Task 6. Post Rational Speed Limits
    Based on the results of Task 3 above, the recipient will post 
revised speed limits as necessary.
Task 7. Enforce Rational Speed Limits
    Prosecutors and judges need to be well informed of the basis for 
rational speed limits and the need for swift and fair adjudication. 
U.S. DOT will provide information for judges and prosecutors in the 
demonstration community on speed management principles, the purpose of 
the demonstration project, and the effects of speeding on traffic 
safety. This training may include visits to the selected roadway 
segments where rational speed limits are set and demonstrations of the 
speed-measuring devices used. Enforcement on the demonstration roads 
will include those elements outlined in ``Guidelines for Enforcement of 
Safe and Rational Speed Limits'' (Appendix C).
Task 8. Collect Post Baseline Data (Ongoing)
    The recipient will collect speed data, enforcement data, and PI&E 
data at various times during the demonstration period. U.S. DOT will 
assist the recipient in determining the exact data to be collected and 
the schedule of collection. Because U.S. DOT intends to compare effects 
of different communities, U.S. DOT will specify the acceptable data 
elements and format. Data shall be provided in accordance with the 
schedule of deliverables and shall include:
    a. Speed Data. Appropriate speed data will be collected by the 
recipient quarterly in at least 25% of the speed zones in a manner that 
will reveal any changes in the speed. There will be at

[[Page 29858]]

least one measurement site on each demonstration road. Speed data will 
be collected in every speed zone on the demonstration roads at or about 
one year after the before data was collected. For long speed zones 
(greater than 5 miles in rural areas or 1 mile in urban areas) multiple 
locations for speed data collection may be required. Final 
determination of all ``after'' speed data collection locations shall be 
determined in conjunction with the U.S. DOT. The speed data shall 
     Individual vehicle speed,
     Individual vehicle headway or arrival time, and
     Measurement location, dates, and times.
    To ensure that the baseline data and post-intervention data are 
comparable, recipients will be expected to collect the same types of 
speed data, at the same locations, in the same manner as was used in 
during the traffic and engineering investigation (see Task 3 above). 
These data shall be submitted to U.S. DOT on a schedule to be 
    b. Enforcement Data. Enforcement and safety-related measures are 
needed to understand the impact of the level of enforcement on speeds 
and safety. These data should be collected on a schedule that ensures 
that the information accurately reflects police staffing assignments 
and other time-sensitive information. The data need to be provided to 
U.S. DOT quarterly with the delivery of the speed data. In accordance 
with the schedule of deliverables, the recipient shall provide 
enforcement data for the demonstration road segments on:
     Traffic enforcement person hours,
     Number of speed violation warnings, and speeding citations 
(and cited speeds),
     Adjudications, and
     Crashes (by crash type).
    c. Public Information and Education. Public attitudes and 
perceptions prior to and following speed limit and enforcement changes 
are linked to the success of the program, and must be measured to 
determine how they may change. In the demonstration community, the 
public attitudes and perceptions should be surveyed before and after 
the program is implemented. PI&E data will be provided in accordance 
with the schedule of deliverables.
Task 9. Prepare Quarterly Progress Reports
    Progress reports will be provided quarterly and should include a 
summary of the previous quarter's activities and accomplishments, as 
well as the proposed activities for the upcoming quarter. Any decisions 
and actions required in the upcoming quarter should be included in the 
report. The recipient shall supply the progress reports to the U.S. DOT 
in accordance with the schedule of deliverables.
Task 10. Prepare Final Report
    The recipient will prepare a brief report (e.g., 25 pages or less), 
initially in draft, and upon receipt of comments from U.S. DOT, submit 
a final version, describing the procedures and outcomes associated with 
the rational speed limit approach to speed management. The report 
should be prepared according to the following format:
     Introduction: Identify project objectives; and describe 
the demonstration and comparison communities and participating 
     Procedures: Describe what was done;
     Findings: Present descriptive statistics of the findings 
regarding speeds, safety, attitudes, etc.; and
     Lessons Learned: Present any information that can be used 
by other communities when implementing a similar program.
Task 11. Final Briefing
    The recipient will present its findings to U.S. DOT in Washington, 
D.C. This briefing will be presented in accordance with the schedule of 

Availability of Funds and Period of Support

    A total of $700,000 is available in Fiscal Year 2001 to fund from 
two to four demonstration and evaluation projects for a performance 
period of 20 months. It is anticipated that individual award amounts, 
based upon demonstrated need, will range between $175,000-300,000. This 
stated range does not establish minimum or maximum funding levels. 
Given the amount of federal funds available for these efforts, 
applicants are strongly urged to seek other funding opportunities to 
supplement the federal funds.

U.S. DOT Involvement and Responsibilities in This Cooperative 
Agreement Program

     Provide a Contracting Officer's Technical Representative 
(COTR) to participate in the planning and management of each 
cooperative agreement and to coordinate activities between the 
recipients and U.S. DOT.
     Provide information and technical assistance as determined 
appropriate by the COTR.
     Provide for the collection and analysis of speed, crash, 
and enforcement data from the comparison community.
     Provide for supplemental analysis of speed, crash, and 
enforcement data from the demonstration community.

Eligibility Requirements

    Applications for this Cooperative Agreement Program are solicited 
from State and local governments and their agencies. These 
demonstration projects will require extensive collaboration among each 
of the participating state/community organizations in order to achieve 
the program objective.

Application Procedures

    Each applicant must submit one original and two (2) copies of the 
application package to: NHTSA, Office of Contracts and Procurement 
(NAD-30), ATTN: Maxine Ware, 400 7th Street, SW, Room 5301, Washington, 
DC 20590. Submission of three additional copies will expedite the 
evaluation process, but is not required. The application may be single 
spaced, must be typed on one side of the page only, and must include a 
reference to NHTSA Cooperative Agreement No. DTNH22-01-H-05221. Only 
complete application packages received on or before 4:00 p.m. on 
Tuesday, July 24, 2001 will be considered.

Application Contents

    1. The application package must be submitted with OMB Standard Form 
424 (Rev. 7-97, including 424B), Application for Federal Assistance, 
with the required information filled in and certified assurances 
signed. Because the available space on the 424A does not permit a level 
of detail that is sufficient to provide for a meaningful evaluation of 
the proposed total costs, a completed 424A is not required. A 
supplemental budget must be provided which presents a summary of the 
proposed costs, as well as a detailed breakdown for each of the ten 
sections (tasks) enumerated in the Description of the Program Effort. 
The task breakdown shall identify: direct labor costs for each labor 
category, direct material and equipment costs, travel costs (explaining 
the relationship to the project), and any overhead/indirect costs. The 
applicant shall also identify any financial or in-kind commitment of 
resources that will be contributed in support of the demonstration 
project. The SF-424 and 424B may be obtained from the Office of 
Management and Budget website at http://www.whitehouse.gov/omb/grants/index.html.

[[Page 29859]]

    2. The application shall include a program narrative statement that 
describes the technical approach in 25 pages or less and addresses the 
following information in separately labeled sections. Letters of 
cooperation and intent, as well as personnel resumes, will not count 
against the page limit.
    a. Introduction: A brief overview of the applicant's capabilities 
to organize and carry out the rational speed limit project in the 
proposed demonstration community. All participating organizations 
(e.g., traffic engineering, law enforcement, public information), the 
principal investigator, and other key personnel shall be identified. 
The proposed comparison community and, if possible, the key 
coordinating personnel shall also be identified.
    b. Description of Program Effort: The planned technical approach 
for performing each of the efforts listed below shall be separately 
    (1) Coordination with organizations within demonstration and 
comparison communities. Describe how cooperation among the various 
agencies will be obtained. Include:
    (a) Letters of intent from the participating agencies in the 
demonstration community
    (b) Letters of intent from the cooperating agencies in the 
comparison community permitting U.S. DOT to measure speeds and obtain 
crash and enforcement data
    (c) A letter of coordination from the Governor's Highway Safety 
Representative and State Traffic Engineer.
    (2) Identification of a preliminary list of demonstration streets/
highways for rational speed limits and basis for selection. Identify 
the length, functional class, predominant land use of selected road 
    (3) Traffic and engineering investigations to establish rational 
speed limits, including speed data collection procedures and equipment 
and method of determining whether speed limits should be revised.
    (4) Implementation of a community outreach and PI&E program to 
obtain public and official support.
    (5) Enforcement plan for the new speed limits.
    (6) Collection of data.
    c. Program Management and Staffing.
    (1) A program organizational chart identifying proposed staff 
members assigned to the project will be provided. The title and a brief 
description of each position's responsibilities will be included, as 
well as the proposed level of effort and allocation of time for each 
position. One person must be identified as the Project Director. This 
person will have full responsibility for managing the project's 
technical progress, staffing and coordination of organizations, and 
serving as the point of contact for U.S. DOT project staff.
    (2) Brief resumes will be provided for the proposed Project 
Director and other key personnel.

Application Review Process and Evaluation Criteria

    Initially, all applications will be reviewed to confirm that the 
applicant is an eligible recipient and to ensure that the application 
contains all of the information required by the Application Contents 
section of the notice. To be considered complete, applications from 
eligible applicants must include the following information to be 
considered: (1) The designation of a specific demonstration community, 
as well as the designation, or at least suggestion, of a similar 
community that will be used as a comparison site during the proposed 
demonstration; (2) letters of intent showing that the designated 
demonstration community agencies have the capabilities and are willing 
to commit sufficient resources to properly conduct the proposed 
demonstration, including participating highway engineering departments, 
law enforcement agencies, prosecutors and judges, department of motor 
vehicles, public information office, and community government; (3) 
letters from the appropriate authorities within the comparison 
community that the appropriate highway engineering department, law 
enforcement officials, and department of motor vehicles present in the 
comparison community will cooperate in the demonstration project, and 
provide U.S. DOT access to the necessary data; and (4) a letter of 
coordination for the proposed demonstration project from the Governor's 
Highway Safety Representative and State Traffic Engineer. Each complete 
application from an eligible recipient will be evaluated by an 
evaluation panel.
    The evaluation panel will be comprised of government personnel from 
NHTSA and FHWA, as well as a representative from Westat, Inc. Westat, 
Inc, a research firm located in Rockville, Maryland, will serve as a 
non-voting member of the evaluation panel and will be providing support 
services to U.S. DOT for this demonstration project effort. Submission 
of an application in response to this notice shall constitute an 
authorization for a representative from Westat, Inc. to review it.
    The applications will be evaluated using the following criteria:
    1. Technical Approach (50 percent). The applicant's goals are 
clearly stated and the objectives are time-phased, specific, 
measurable, and achievable. The application reflects a high likelihood 
that the applicant will achieve an outcome-oriented result that will 
revise speed limits using a specific rational procedure, secure the 
cooperation of the necessary organizations, inform the public, and 
provide reliable data from which the impact of the program can be 
assessed. The application clearly describes what the applicant proposes 
to develop and implement, how this will be accomplished, and the major 
tasks necessary for completion. This involves anticipating potential 
technical problems and critical issues related to successful completion 
of the project. The application clearly describes the planning, 
scheduling, equipment, and procedures to be used to measure speed data 
at selected road segments within the demonstration community. An 
important determining factor shall be the extent and type of road 
segments included in the demonstration community, the enforcement 
proposed, the extent to which judicial acceptance is evidenced, and the 
PI&E campaign planned.
    2. Project Management and Staffing (30 percent). The applicant has 
the capabilities to plan, implement, and evaluate the proposed project. 
The proposed staff are clearly described, are appropriately assigned, 
and have adequate skills and experience. Staff members with traffic 
engineering, speed data collection, enforcement, PI&E, and data 
management expertise have been appropriately allocated. The applicant's 
staffing plan is reasonable for accomplishing the objectives of the 
project within the established time frame.
    3. Cost (20 percent). The budget is sufficiently detailed to allow 
U.S. DOT to determine that the estimated costs are reasonable and 
necessary to perform the proposed effort. The amount of financial or 
in-kind commitment of resources by the applicant organization or other 
organizations to support the project has been clearly identified. For 
those applicants that are evaluated as meritorious for consideration 
for award, preference may be given to those that have proposed cost-
sharing strategies and/or have other proposed funding sources in 
addition to those in this announcement.

Terms and Conditions of Award

    1. Prior to award, each recipient must comply with the 
certification requirements of 49 CFR Part 20,

[[Page 29860]]

Department of Transportation New Restrictions on Lobbying, and 49 CFR 
Part 29, Department of Transportation Government-wide Debarment and 
Suspension (Non-Procurement) and Government-wide Requirements for Drug 
Free Workplace (Grants).
    2. Performance Schedule of Deliverables and Milestones:

                Task                    Activity description    Milestone/deliverable                         Due date after award
1...................................  Kickoff meeting........  Milestone..............  2 weeks.
2...................................  Work plan..............  Revised work plan......  4 weeks.
3...................................  Conduct Engineering      Speed Zoning Plan......  12 weeks.
4...................................  Data collection........  Data...................  Quarterly.
5...................................  PI&E...................  Schedule...............  12 weeks.
5...................................  PI&E...................  PI&E materials.........  As developed.
8a, 8b, 8c..........................  Speed, enforcement, and  Data...................  Every 3 months with full data provided 17 months after award.
                                       PI&E data.
9...................................  Submit quarterly         Quarterly progress       10th day of every third month.
                                       progress reports.        reports.
10..................................  Submit draft of Final    Draft final report.....  17 months.
10..................................  Submit final version of  Final report...........  19 months.
                                       Final Report.
11..................................  Final briefing at U.S.   Briefing at U.S. DOT...  20 months.
                                       DOT workshop.
Note: Four copies of each product will be submitted to the COTR.

    3. During the effective performance period of the Cooperative 
Agreements awarded as a result of this announcement, the agreement as 
applicable to the recipient shall be subject to the National Highway 
Traffic Safety Administration's General Provisions for Assistance 
Agreements, dated July 1995.

    Issued on: May 25, 2001.
Marilena Amoni,
Acting Associate Administrator for Traffic Safety Programs, NHTSA.
Frederick G. Wright, Jr.,
Program Manager, Safety, FHWA.

Appendix A--Guidelines for Setting Safe and Reasonable Speed Limits

I. Speed Zoning

    The purpose of speed zoning is to establish a speed limit that 
is the maximum reasonable and safe speed for a section of road. 
There are many factors that affect driving speed and crash risk 
including driver, vehicle, roadway, traffic and environmental 
factors. The prevailing speed of traffic reflects the collective 
judgement of the driving population on what appears reasonable and 
safe on a given segment of roadway. The prevailing speed, therefore, 
provides a measure that objectively accounts for most factors 
affecting safe speed. Changing a speed limit on a road may, but does 
not necessarily change the prevailing speed on the road.
    Inconsistencies exist for how speed limits are determined for 
speed zones, in part, because of the subjective nature of the 
current practice. If the speed limit is too high it can lead to 
driver error; if it is too low it may result in a lack of compliance 
and misallocation of enforcement resources. Therefore, it is 
critical that a standard method for determining the safe and 
appropriate speed be identified and described.

II. 85th Percentile Speed

    Section III below describes a method for establishing speed 
limits based on the prevailing speed. Setting speeds using the 85th 
percentile as a key guideline regulates against the higher speeds 
that may be unsafe, but still includes a very large percentage of 
the driving public. Drivers who travel at the 95th percentile speed 
and above (i.e. fastest 5 percent) have significantly higher crash 
rates than those who drive at or near the 85th percentile (and also 
those whose speed is closer to the average speed. Since the purpose 
of speed zoning is to facilitate safety by informing drivers of 
maximum speeds for normal conditions, the posted speed limit should 
reflect the upper limit of the safest speeds (i.e., those near the 
85th percentile).

III. Engineering and Traffic Survey Considerations

A. Inventory Road Conditions

    Review and document on a site diagram or speed survey sheet the 
physical characteristics of the road (alignment, grade, roadway 
width, number of lanes, median type, intersections, etc.), roadside 
development, parking, and pedestrian activity should. Divide the 
roadway of interest into homogeneous sections. A homogeneous section 
is one where:
     The roadside development is consistent (residential vs. 
commercial; type and frequency of businesses and driveways, etc.)
     The roadway features are consistent (lane widths, 
medians, shoulders, surface roughness, curvature, intersection 
spacing, etc.)

B. Select Measurement Sites

    Within each section, select speed measurement sites. The 
measurement sites should be representative of the entire section of 
the roadway being zoned. This might require that the roadway be 
divided into one or more zones and that measurement sites be 
selected for each zone. In a non-rural area, select at least two 
measurement sites per mile in each direction (i.e., sites spaced 
approximately 2000 feet apart). Speed measurement sites should not 
be located within 500 feet of a speed transition zone (intersection 
approach, horizontal curve, etc.). If speed measurement sites are 
needed between intersections and the 500-foot distance cannot be 
met, use a mid-block location for the speed measurement station. 
Sites for different directions on the same road do not necessarily 
need to be in the same location.

C. Collect Speed Data

    Using automated speed collection measurement techniques, collect 
24 hours of speed data for all lanes at each speed measurement site. 
Speed data must be collected in a manner that does not influence 
drivers to change their vehicle's speed. The speed measurement 
technique must also permit free flowing vehicles (i.e., more than 5 
sec. of headway to be distinguished from non-free-flowing vehicles. 
This is necessary to determine the 85th percentile of free-flowing 
vehicles. Data should be collected during weekdays and should not be 
collected during inclement weather.

D. Select Speed Limit

    The following procedure is recommended by the Federal Highway 
Administration and is based on procedures widely used for speed 
zoning. Based on the speed data collected, determine the median 
(50th percentile) and 85th percentile speed for free-flow vehicles 
at each measurement site. Select the 85th percentile speed rounded 
to the nearest 5 mph increment as first approximation for the speed 
limit. Where there are mitigating factors (speed related crash 
history, heavy non-motorized road user presence, extreme variance of 
speeds) the selected speed may be reduced to a value not lower than 
the median speed rounded up to the next highest 5 mph multiple. If 
there is a difference of more than 5 mph between two measurement 
sites, employ a separate speed zone. If potentially hazardous 
conditions exist within the zone, the conditions should be 
corrected, or appropriate warning signs should be installed with 
advisory speed plaques based on the inferred design or ball bank 

[[Page 29861]]

For example, if a sharp curve exists within the zone, do not reduce 
the speed limit in the entire zone--remove the sharp curve or add 
the appropriate warning sign.

Appendix B--Guidelines for Public Information and Education (PI&E) 
Programs for Rational Speed Limits

I. Introduction

    Speeding--driving in excess of the posted speed limits or 
driving too fast for conditions--is a contributing factor in 
approximately 30 percent of all fatal traffic crashes. A 
comprehensive Public Information and Education (PI&E) program is 
essential to gain motorist compliance with rational speed limits. 
All available means that can be used to effectively carry the 
awareness message to the motoring public should be used.

II. Methods and Strategies

    A plan should be developed that includes media analysis and 
profiles of target audiences to determine optimum media mix and 
timing for the campaign. This plan should be followed for the 
duration of the PI&E program. It should primarily reflect methods 
for monitoring the effectiveness of the PI&E program prior to its 
initiation and as it progresses. Improvements in the PI&E program 
should be made, as necessary, for maximum effectiveness.
    All materials should be developed in appropriate languages that 
reflect the demographics of the public within the target project 
demonstration area. PI&E activities should be conducted, as 
appropriate, prior to and during the speed management project.
    PI&E strategies should be developed in the following areas:
     An overall PI&E awareness program concerning the new 
speed management techniques to ensure motorist acceptance and 
compliance. This awareness program should reflect a unified approach 
across media while maximizing the value and effectiveness of each 
media program.
     A PI&E event schedule, including special press 
activities and press conferences.
     Distributed Materials: Fact sheets, inserts, flyers, 
posters, print ads, exhibits and displays.
     News Media Materials: Press releases, public service 
announcements, live-announcer scripts.
     Press conferences should be used where appropriate. 
These conferences should occur at the initiation of the 
demonstration project (and at other key periods) in order to achieve 
maximum press coverage. Press conferences, when practical, shall 
include participation from all groups involved in the demonstration 
project, (i.e., traffic engineers, law enforcement officers, 
prosecutors, judges).

Appendix C--Guidelines for Enforcement of Safe and Rational Speed 

    Enforcement of traffic laws is successful primarily through the 
principle of deterrence. The fundamental concept is that credible 
threats of punishment deter unwanted behavior.

I. Elements of the Deterrence Process

A. Behavior Must Be Definable, Understandable and Detectable

    The behavior that we want to stop, in this case, is traveling at 
unsafe, unacceptable speeds over the newly established rational 
speed limits. Enforcement operations shall take a top-down approach 
for establishing the enforcement threshold. Speed measurements at 
the selected road segments shall be used to determine the top 5 
percent of speeds. This information will be used to establish the 
enforcement threshold. The enforcement threshold should never be 
less than 5 mph above the new posted speed limit. This top-down 
strategy will not overwhelm the law enforcement officers, the 
prosecutors, or the courts. This strategy promotes public and court 
acceptance of enforcement by targeting only the most egregious 
violators. The overall goal of the enforcement efforts is motorist 
compliance, not issuance of citations.

B. Deterrence Depends Upon the Perceived Risk of Apprehension

    The public must be aware that new speed limits will be strictly 
enforced. Highly visible, highly publicized enforcement efforts 
enhance this perception. The involved enforcement agencies shall 
commit additional resources above the norm for speed enforcement 
efforts at the selected roadway segments. This effort will provide a 
consistent law enforcement presence without the appearance of a 
``speed trap'' being in operation. The strategy should still allow 
the enforcement officers to be available to respond to other law 
enforcement activities as necessary.

C. Deterrence Depends on the Swiftness, Certainty, and Severity of 

    Once caught, speeders must be adjudicated quickly with a high 
likelihood of significant penalties.

II. Operational Considerations

A. Officers

    Basic enforcement speed-measuring device (e.g., radar, lidar, 
vascar, etc.) operator training programs developed by NHTSA will be 
offered by the U.S. DOT for officers involved in speed enforcement. 
In addition, officers involved in speed enforcement are encouraged 
to comply with the enforcement and operational procedures 
established by U.S. DOT. Traffic officers assigned to patrol the 
demonstration roads should devote a significant portion of their 
shift on speed enforcement.

B. Marked Police Vehicles

    It is desirable that speed enforcement on the selected roadway 
segments be highly visible. Marked police vehicles frequently 
patrolling the roadway segments provide this visibility. The use of 
unmarked vehicles for speed enforcement should be kept at a minimum. 
Unmarked police vehicles tend to give the public the perception that 
the roadway segment is a ``speed trap''. This perception should be 

C. Speed-Measuring Devices

    All speed-measuring devices used in the speed enforcement 
efforts should be listed on the International Association of Chiefs 
of Police (IACP) Consumer Products List (CPL). In addition, selected 
speed-measuring devices should comply with the testing for accuracy 
and reliability procedures established by the IACP Speed-Measuring 
Device Testing Program Administration Guide.

D. Speed Display Trailer

    The applicant may use speed display trailers on the selected 
roadway segments to inform the motoring public of their travel speed 
on the selected roadway segments.

[FR Doc. 01-13721 Filed 5-31-01; 8:45 am]