Developing a Safe System Approach to Setting Speed Limits
University of California, Berkeley
California Department of Transportation (Caltrans). Task Number: 3896
In California, the relationship between speed and crash involvement has prompted calls from local governments to change the way that speed limits are set. In response, the Legislature passed Assembly Bill 2363, which directed the California State Transportation Agency (CalSTA) to convene a Zero Traffic Fatalities Task Force (ZTFTF) comprised of experts from across the state to brainstorm, evaluate, and recommend alternatives to the current speed-limit-setting methodology.
This research project represents the first step towards developing a Safe Systems approach to setting speed limits, per CalSTA’s recommendation. The Safe Systems approach is used in other countries, most notably Sweden, the Netherlands, and Australia, and has been studied extensively. But it has yet to be implemented in North America. Changing how California establishes speed limits will be a significant undertaking that will require funding, time, and expertise to facilitate strategic decision and policy-making.