Community Speed Reduction

Resource: Publications Reports


Motor vehicle crashes are the leading cause of unintentional injury deaths in the United States each year. In 2011, vehicle speed played a role in nearly one in three crash deaths, about ninety percent of which took place on non-Interstate roads. High speeds are especially dangerous for pedestrians and cyclists, who are disproportionately threatened by even small increases in traffic speed, when collisions occur. Poor road design, lack of enforcement, and speed limits that are set too high can encourage high speeds. Community-wide speed reduction strategies intervene in the built environment to slow down motor vehicles and are systematically applied within a defined geographic area.

Evidence based speed reduction strategies include designing and retrofitting road networks to ensure safe speeds, using automated traffic enforcement technologies, and reducing speed limits.  Communities implementing these strategies can prevent collisions, reduce fatalities and injuries, and makes streets more inviting for cycling and walking.


Public Health Impact: Community Speed Reduction

Speed Reduction Fact Sheet: Opportunities to Improve Current Practice

Community Speed Reduction: A Technical Report

Case Studies:

  • Chicago, Illinois: Child Safety Zones
  • Columbia, Missouri: Lowering The Posted Speed Limit On Residential Streets
  • New York City: Neighborhood Slow Zones
  • Portland, Oregon: Neighborhood Greenway Initiative
  • Seattle, Washington: A Multi-Faceted Approach To Speed Reduction
  • Washington, DC: Automated Speed Enforcement

HRiA, in partnership with the Metropolitan Area Planning Council and with support from the National Network of Public Health Institutes and the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, created these resources.