Report numberRA-MOW-2008-006
TitleSpeed management
SubtitleLiterature Review
AuthorsSven Vlassenroot
Wim Vandenberghe
Johan De Mol
Published byPolicy Research Centre for Mobility and Public Works, track Traffic Safety 2007-2011
Number of pages73
Document languageDutch
Work packageOther: Sustainable transportation

Speeding is a widespread social problem. It affects road safety, higher vehicle speeds also contribute to increased greenhouse gas emissions, fuel consumption and noise and to adverse impacts on quality of life.  Different researchers, organizations and road safety visions noted that co-ordinated actions taken by the responsible authorities can bring about an immediate and durable response to the problem of speeding and so can reduce rapidly the number of fatalities and injuries, and to reduce environmental pollution and energy consumption.


Speed management can help achieve appropriate speeds, taking into account mobility and economic needs as well as safety and environmental requirements. A coherent consistent policy will produce better results than a series of isolated measures. The speed management should consist the following elements:


Better information and education is needed. Assessments of appropriate speed for all types of roads and a review of existing speed limits in relation to accident risk based on road function, presence of vulnerable road users, traffic composition, and road design and roadside characteristics. Infrastructure improvements, which are aimed at achieving safe, "self explaining” roads; these should guide drivers in choosing the appropriate speed.


People drive with a certain vehicle. These vehicles could have a higher mass, engine power and speed than which is needed (e.g. SUV). This cars could provide a higher feeling of security to the drivers but will have influence on the safety feelings of other (vulnerable) road users. Governments should discourage drivers to buy “bigger cars” and encourage manufactures to produce environment-friendly vehicles and cars with an appropriate mass, power en speed ratio.


Intelligent Transport Systems could help to provide a better quality of life. Active Cruise Control and Intelligent Speed Adaptation are systems that are beneficial in relation to speed control. ISA was frequently tested and demonstrated in many cars but until today no further steps in a widespread implementation strategy was achieved.  


Enforcement is the last step of the chain of speed management. Both traditional police enforcement and automated speed control, including the use of mobile cameras are needed to complement the other speed management measures in order to achieve their full effect. Speed enforcement activities are best repeated frequently, at irregular intervals and with different intensities. Higher intensities generally result in larger effects.

DownloadPDF icon RA-MOW-2008-006.pdf


The Policy Research Centre for Traffic Safety carries out policy relevant scientific research under the authority of the Flemish Government. The Centre is the result of a

cooperation between Hasselt University, KU Leuven and VITO, the Flemish Institute for Technological Research.


Leuven vito