Encourage use of target speeds for arterial, collector, and local roadways; encourage use of target speeds with pedestrian, land use, and roadway context, including options for target speeds of 35 mph or less on arterials and the evaluation of existing speed limits to appropriate target speeds.
- Identify a lead organization.
- Identify agencies (e.g., TxDOT, municipalities, and counties) and stakeholders (e.g., representatives of people with disabilities, pedestrian and walking advocates, business district leaders, low-income communities, and transit providers) to explore benefits and barriers to implementation of slower target speed concepts.
- Provide information about setting speed limits based on target speed concepts related to kinetic energy, crash severity, and safe systems concepts (e.g., USLimits2).
- Explore potential changes to Sec. 545.356 of the Transportation Code, “Authority of Municipality to Alter Speed Limits,” to clarify that cities may use target speed limits and that designers can select a design speed to use in geometric decisions based on safe operating speeds in a complex environment.
- Implement a pilot program to implement pilot arterial and collector target speed zones and related design treatments for encouraging target speed compliance, including the use of interim, low-cost street redesigns.
- Evaluate the effectiveness of and keys to success for pilot target speed zones and related design treatments for controlling speed.
- Write guidance on road design to achieve target speed based on lessons learned, best practices, and proven countermeasures.
- Build and retrofit streets with target speeds that consider pedestrians, land use, and roadway context.
Transportation agencies (TxDOT, municipalities, and counties); safety, pedestrian, and biking advocates; transit providers; representatives of people with disabilities and low-income communities; FHWA; and legislature and political leaders
- Misperception that congestion or commuter delay is a bigger problem than crashes, when crashes in fact impose a much higher cost on Texans.
- Public perception of the need for speed and lack of understanding of how safe, multimodal streets can provide greater access, shorter trips, and even quicker vehicle trips when crashes are avoided.
- Institutional inertia, which requires leadership, taking concerns seriously, and working through issues, to allow the possibility of arriving at results that may seem heretical to many dedicated professionals at various levels of the transportation system.
- Interpretations of the 85th percentile rule, which some might perceive conflicts with this.
- Texas laws. Texas law bars cities from using 20-mph speed limits on neighborhood streets. Sec. 545.356 of the Transportation Code requires difficult reporting requirements that some cities say are impossible to meet and thus are seen as a limiting factor for establishing 25-mph speed limits, which this section is intended to allow. Some cities believe that target and design speeds cannot be set lower than the speed limit, essentially creating a de facto lower limit on the safety of designs at 30-mph design speed.
- Reasonable interpretations of this sentence from the TxDOT Procedures for Establishing Speed Zones: “New or reconstructed roadways (and roadway sections) should be designed to accommodate operating speeds consistent with the roadway’s highest anticipated posted speed limit based on the roadway’s initial or ultimate function.”