NACTO urges shift from ‘outdated’ speed-limit planning

One major reason that tourists don’t choose to travel by bicycle is that city streets are not safe.  Its lack of bike paths but also cars traveling at unsafe speeds…  Rick Coates

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  • The National Association of City Transportation Officials (NACTO) last week released a guide urging local leaders to rethink how they set speed limits on city streets in a bid to prevent pedestrian deaths.
  • The guide, entitled “City Limits,” says cities should consider setting default speed limits on many streets at once, designate slow zones in what they deem “sensitive areas” and set speed limits on major corridors by using studies that take into account density and activity level.
  • Those changes would represent a major shift from the traditional way of setting speed limits, which involves measuring 100 drivers traveling without traffic and setting the speed limit based on the 15th-fastest driver. That practice is known as the 85th percentile, which NACTO Program Manager Jenny O’Connell described in a statement as “an oversimplified and outdated method.”
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