The opinions expressed in the studies are those of the consultant and do not necessarily represent the position of the Commission.
There is no single solution to the problem of excess and inappropriate speed. A package of countermeasures is necessary, increasing the effectiveness of each individual measure. The most appropriate combination of measures will differ with circumstances. In principle, effective speed management requires an integrated, systematic and stepwise approach. Within the current system of fixed speed limits, the following steps are important:
Step 1: Setting speed limits
The basis for any speed management policy is setting speed limits. Speed limits need to reflect the safe speed on that particular road, related to road function, traffic composition, and road design characteristics. Furthermore, speed limits need to be credible, i.e. they must be logical in the light of the characteristics of the road and the road environment.
Step 2: Information about the speed limit
The driver must know, always and everywhere, what the speed limit is. The conventional way is to use consistent roadside signing and road markings. In-vehicle systems to inform drivers about the speed limit in force are likely to be introduced progressively.
Step 3: Road engineering measures
At particular locations low speeds may be crucial for safety (perceived or actual). Examples are near schools or homes for the elderly, at pedestrian crossings, at intersections. At these locations, physical speed reducing measures such as speed humps, road narrowings and roundabouts can help to ensure cars maintain a safe speed.
Step 4: Police enforcement to control the intentional speeder
If steps 1 to 3 are applied, it can be assumed that the unintentional speed violations are an exception. Drivers who still exceed the speed limit do so intentionally. Police enforcement will remain necessary to control and punish that group of drivers.
Information and education for drivers
All of steps 1 to 4 have to be accompanied by information to driver on the problem of speed and speeding, what the speed limit system is based on and why, what additional measures are taken and why, and preferably also on the (positive) outcomes of these measures.