Austin Transportation Department is developing a new Speed Management Program to improve safety and enhance the livability of Austin streets through context-appropriate speed reduction strategies across the city. The objective of the program is to reduce the likelihood of serious injury and fatal crashes as well as reduce egregious speeding on all street levels.

Why Speed Management is Important

Effective speed management is a critical component to creating streets that support safe, convenient travel by everyone—whether they are in cars, on bicycles, walking or using assisted mobility devices. People get around Austin in different ways (sometimes on the same trip), so it is important that our streets are safe for all, as stated in City Council goals adopted in Imagine Austin, Austin Strategic Direction 2023, and the Austin Strategic Mobility Plan.

Speed management is also a critical focus area to achieve our Vision Zero goals of reaching zero traffic fatalities and serious injuries. Each year more than 10,000 people lose their lives to speed-related crashes in the United States. In Austin, speeding was recorded as the primary contributing factor in 24% of traffic crashes resulting in death between 2013-2017. This makes it the top one of the four behaviors which contribute to most of the fatal crashes in Austin (along with failure to yield, distraction, and intoxication). Speeding may even contribute to a much higher number of crashes than what is currently documented, according to leading research.

Speed Management Resources

  • Reducing Speeding-Related Crashes Involving Passenger Vehicles,” National Transportation Safety Board (2017)
  • Achieving Multimodal Networks,” Federal Highway Administration
    • “Where modes come together, the design should eliminate conflicts to the greatest extent possible. If it is not feasible to eliminate the conflict entirely, designers should minimize the speed differential between modes to ensure that if a crash occurs, the severity of the injury is likely to be lower...Designers have the flexibility to set design speeds lower than the posted speed limit.”
  • Urban Street Design Guide, National Association of City Transportation Officials
    • “There is a direct correlation between higher speeds, crash risk, and the severity of injuries... Design streets using target speed, the speed you intend for drivers to go, rather than operating speed. The 85th percentile of observed target speeds should fall between 10–30 mph on most urban streets.”
  • Texas Strategic Highway Safety Plan
    • Speeding Emphasis Area: Strategy #1 - Use the concept of establishing target speed limits and road characteristics to reduce speeding.
  • Speeding Away from 0: Rethinking a Forgotten Traffic Safety Challenge," Governor’s Highway Safety Association

Check previous project status updates