Research Reports

  

Evaluating the Effectiveness of the Minnesota Speed Management Program

Principal Investigator:

Kathleen A Harder, John Bloomfield

May 2007

Report no. MnDOT 2007-21

Projects: Evaluating the Effectiveness of the Minnesota Speed Management Program

Topics: Planning, Traffic Operations

The Minnesota Speed Management Program (MSMP), a cooperative project between the Minnesota Department of Transportation and the Minnesota Department of Public Safety, was developed within the framework of the Minnesota Comprehensive Highway Safety Plan. The overall goal was to reduce the number of fatal and life-changing crashes on Minnesota highways. The MSMP involved a speed limit adjustment; on 850 miles of Minnesota's 55 mph highways the speed limit was increased to 60 mph. It involved increased speed enforcement--by State Patrol, county sheriffs, and local law enforcement--on selected highways. There were four waves of Enhanced Enforcement (one of six weeks, three of eight weeks) each followed by four weeks of Regular Enforcement. The MSMP involved extensive public education, organized by the Office of Traffic Safety, with approximately 10,000 public service messages presented on the radio.

Two evaluation efforts were conducted. The University of Minnesota compared travel speed data and crash data obtained during the MSMP with historical data. Throughout the MSMP, there were decreases in the number of drivers traveling at least 10 mph above the speed limits: decreases of -28.7% on 2-Lane/2-Way Highways; -28.7% on 4-Lane Divided Highways; -42.9% on Rural Freeways; and -11.2% mph on Urban Freeways. The University's evaluation also showed there were reductions in the numbers of fatal and life-changing crashes during the MSMP. MarketLine Research conducted the second evaluation, using telephone surveys, and found nine in ten drivers support the speed limit increase from 55 mph to 60 mph in both Metro and Greater Minnesota. The MSMP, in concert with other efforts that are part of the Minnesota Comprehensive Highway Safety Plan, resulted in reductions in the number of speeders on Minnesota Highways and reductions in the number of fatal and life-changing crashes, making Minnesota's roads safer.

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