A combination of enforcement, engineering and public outreach successfully slowed drivers down during a pilot project.
During the pilot on a rural road in Maryland, average speeds fell by nine percent and the odds that a vehicle on the road was speeding dropped by three-quarters. The effects largely faded once the measures were discontinued.
The multipronged effort on MD 367, a two-lane road in Bishopville on Maryland’s Eastern Shore, was supported by a $100,000 grant from the Governors Highway Safety Association (GHSA), the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety (IIHS) and the National Road Safety Foundation (NRSF).
The three organizations teamed up to fund and evaluate comprehensive speed management pilot programs in one rural and one urban location. The urban project, planned for Virginia, is expected to begin later this year.
“Road deaths have been climbing, and more than a quarter of them are connected to speeding,” said IIHS President David Harkey. “As this study shows, a practical, comprehensive approach to the problem can slow drivers down.”
The effort in Bishopville, focused on a 2.4-mile section of the road that is a popular route for beachgoers in the summer and is known to have a speeding problem. In July 2021, the lanes were narrowed to help slow traffic. In addition, speed feedback signs, which show drivers how fast they are going as they pass, were installed in two locations.
Around the same time, state highway officials began public outreach work and officials conducted high-visibility enforcement campaigns which resulted in more than 120 speeding citations.
IIHS researchers found that average speeds fell nine percent during the pilot. They also found a 78 percent reduction in the odds that a vehicle exceeded the speed limit by any amount and an 80 percent reduction in the odds of a driver going more than ten mph over the limit.