Use speed warning signs on dangerous curves to reduce speeds of trucks.
Colorado DOT utilizes low cost system to reduce truck speeds on mountain passes.
- Consider using simple radar speed detection devices in combination with dynamic message signs. To convey to trucks their current speed and to warn them of impending curves ahead which could not be safely negotiated at their current speed, use simple radar speed detection devices in combination with dynamic message signs. The relatively low cost system (estimated to cost between $25-30,000 at the time of installation in 1998) has seen dramatic results. Speed studies conducted before and after the system was installed revealed a reduction in 85th percentile truck speed from 66 to 48mph.
- Properly calibrate the speed warning systems to ensure that the readings displayed on dynamic message signs match those displayed on speedometers in the vehicle. Inaccurate or poor information can lead to negative credibility and discontinued use of the system. Also, periodic visits to the site should be conducted to observe how the public is responding to the information.
Speed warning devices have the potential to reduce crashes and increase safety in particular in mountainous terrains as Colorado experienced. More advanced systems have been deployed in recent years that include speed enforcement through downstream traffic signals being switched to red when approaching drivers are speeding. However, this particular lesson demonstrates how a low-tech approach can result in increased safety and reduced speeds on hazardous roadways.
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