THE COSTS AND BENEFITS OF SPEED LIMITS

The level at which speed limits should be fixed depends upon a number of economic, philosophical and political issues. The possible costs and benefits of introducing or lowering speed limits are listed. Costs include those of longer journey times and enforcement. One of the main benefits is probably a reduction in accident rates. It is argued that there is evidence of a link between speed and accident reduction. Often accident rates fall when speed limits are lowered and observed. There is little doubt that accident rate fell in Britain and the USA as a result of speed restrictions introduced at the time of the 1973/74 fuel crisis. However, it is difficult to measure the cost of accidents against the reduction in vehicle occupants time. The benefits of shorter journey time can easily be seen but the costs cannot be appreciated without a study of accident statistics. It is suggested that it should not be assumed that speed limits are right and consideration should be given to the possibility of more variation in speed limits, the cost of enforcement and whether longer journey times should be accepted. This paper was presented at the 33rd Annual Conference of the Institute of Traffic Administration. /TRRL/

  • Corporate Authors:

    FPL Transport Publications Limited

    Green Lane, Balsall Common
    Coventry,   England 
  • Authors:
    • Sharp, C
  • Publication Date: 1977-12

Media Info

  • Features: Tables;
  • Pagination: p. 4-7
  • Serial:
    • Transport Management
    • Volume: 10
    • Issue Number: 8
    • Publisher: Institute of Transportation Administration

Subject/Index Terms

Filing Info

  • Accession Number: 00177360
  • Record Type: Publication
  • Source Agency: Transport and Road Research Laboratory (TRRL)
  • Files: ITRD, TRIS
  • Created Date: Sep 14 1978 12:00AM