Many small cities and towns in rural states such as Indiana are crossed by arterial highways. The local traffic on these roads, particularly vulnerable road users, face the excessive risk of injury and death. This danger is amplified with local land development, driveways, and on-street parking in town centers. This report presents an Indiana study of the speeding problem on arterial roads passing through small communities. Past research on various countermeasures suitable for the studied conditions were identified and the connection between speed reduction and safety improvements was investigated in a sample of Indiana small towns. Promising speed-reduction measures include speed feedback signs and converging chevrons with speed limit legends marked on the pavement. Point-to-point enforcement is a modern and highly effective alternative that may be applicable on highways passing small towns if the through traffic prevails with limited interruptions. This report provides a method of evaluating the benefits of speed reduction in the studied conditions where the risk of severe injury and fatality is excessive to road users while the frequency of crashes is low. The method includes the proactive estimation of the economic benefit. The results indicate that both the local and through traffic on highways passing a small town benefit considerably from speed reduction even after accounting for the loss of time. An Excel spreadsheet developed in the study facilitates the calculations.

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small towns, high-speed through traffic, speed reduction, proactive safety management

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Performing Organization

Joint Transportation Research Program

Publisher Place

West Lafayette, Indiana

Date of this Version