SPEEDS ON RURAL HIGHWAYS, PAST AND PRESENT

THE EARLIEST USABLE SPEED-TREND INFORMATION COMES FROM RHODE ISLAND, WHERE THE AVERAGE SPEED SHOWED A STEADY INCREASE FROM 22 MPH. IN 1925 TO 34 MPH. IN 1934. A SECOND STATE WHERE PRE-1940 FIGURES CAN BE USED IS NEW YORK, IN WHICH SEVEN OF THE LOCATIONS STUDIED INTENSIVELY BY THE BUREAU OF PUBLIC ROADS IN 1935 WERE RESTUDIED IN 1950. THE RESULTS SHOW A SLIGHT DROP IN THE AVERAGE SPEED, FROM 43.5 MPH. IN 1935 TO 41.7 MPH. IN 1950, ACCOMPANIED BY A NOTICEABLE INCREASE IN THE CONCENTRATION OF SPEEDS AROUND THEIR CENTRAL VALUES. TRAFFIC VOLUMES WERE ABOUT THE SAME FOR THE TWO SETS OF SPEED DATA. THE STUDIES CONDUCTED MORE OR LESS CONTINUOUSLY BY A LARGE NUMBER OF STATES SINCE 1941 SHOW A SHARP DECLINE IN THE MIDDLE OF 1942 TO A WARTIME LOW OF 36 MPH. IN THE FALL OF 1942. THERE HAS BEEN A GRADUAL RECOVERY SINCE THAT TIME TO A LEVEL SLIGHTLY HIGHER THAN PREWAR. FROM A PREWAR VALUE OF 47 MPH. THE NATIONAL AVERAGE SPEED ON MAIN RURAL HIGHWAYS DROPPED TO 36 IN THE FALL OF 1942, WAS BACK TO 40 BY THE END OF 1943, REACHED 45 IN THE MIDDLE OF 1946, AND LEVELED OFF AT ABOUT 48 IN 1948. SPEEDS IN THE CENTRAL AND WESTERN REGIONS OF THE COUNTRY ARE CONSISTENTLY HIGHER THAN IN THE EAST. OF THE DIFFERENT VEHICLE TYPES, BUSSES ARE CONSISTENTLY A LITTLE FASTER THAN PASSENGER CARS, WITH TRUCKS SOME DISTANCE BEHIND. WHILE BUSSES AND PASSENGER CARS HAVE RETURNED APPROXIMATELY TO THEIR PREWAR SPEEDS, TRUCKS ARE NOW AVERAGING ABOUT 3 MPH. FASTER THAN THEY DID BEFORE THE WAR. THERE IS LITTLE REASON TO EXPECT MUCH CHANGE IN HIGHWAY SPEEDS IN THE NEXT FEW YEARS UNLESS THERE SHOULD BE NEW RESTRICTIONS ON THE CONSUMPTION OF RUBBER AND GASOLINE. /AUTHOR/

  • Supplemental Notes:
    • Vol 30, pp 329-335, 7 FIG, 2 TAB
  • Authors:
    • Raff, M S
  • Publication Date: 1951

Media Info

  • Monograph Title: Proceedings of the Thirtieth Annual Meeting of the Highway Research Board Held at Washington, D.C., January 9-12, 1951
  • Serial:

Subject/Index Terms

Filing Info

  • Accession Number: 00228085
  • Record Type: Publication
  • Files: TRIS, TRB
  • Created Date: Jul 25 1971 12:00AM