Several factors are considered within engineering studies when determining the posted speed limit, including the 85th percentile speed, which is based on the driving behavior of most drivers (85 percent). The 85th percentile speed is believed to represent a safe speed that would minimize crashes.
The TRB National Cooperative Highway Research Program's NCHRP Research Report 966: Posted Speed Limit Setting Procedure and Tool: User Guide provides and explains a speed limit setting procedure (SLS-Procedure) that considers factors beyond the 85th percentile speed, including both driver speed choice and safety associated with the roadway. This report also provides instructions for using an automated version of the SLS-Procedure via a spreadsheet-based Speed Limit Setting Tool (SLS-Tool). Two versions of the SLS-Tool are available:
The “without macros” version is made available for users who are not able to use macro codes on their computers. Please see the User Guide for more detailed information on using both versions of the SLS-Tool.
The report is also accompanied by NCHRP Web-Only Document 291: Development of a Posted Speed Limit Setting Procedure and Tool, which documents the research efforts of NCHRP Project 17-76 - Guidance for the Setting of Speed Limits and a Presentation that offers an overview of the project.
Table of Contents
|Section 1 - Introduction||3-4|
|Section 2 - Speed Limit Relationships and Practices||5-9|
|Section 3 - Procedure to Calculate the Suggested Speed Limit||10-10|
|Section 4 - Decision-Making Steps Within the Suggested Speed Limit Procedure||11-20|
|Section 5 - Variables for Decision-Making Procedure||21-32|
|Section 6 - Speed Limit Setting Tool||33-37|
|Section 7 - SLS-Tool Case Study Examples||38-43|
|Section 8 - Other Considerations When Setting Posted Speed Limits||44-50|
|Section 9 - Related Reference Materials||51-54|
|Acronyms and Abbreviations||55-55|
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