Effects of a rural speed management pilot program in Bishopville, Maryland, on public opinion and vehicle speeds

Hu, Wen / Cicchino, Jessica B.
Insurance Institute for Highway Safety
June 2022

Introduction: In summer 2021, a speed management pilot program was conducted on a rural two-lane road (MD 367) in Bishopville, Maryland, that combined countermeasures from engineering, enforcement, and communications. The study evaluated public awareness of the program and its effects on speeds.
Method: Telephone surveys of drivers in Bishopville and neighboring communities, as well as drivers in control communities across the state that did not have a program, were conducted before and after the program started. Vehicle speeds were collected at treatment sites on the MD 367 corridor and at control sites before, during, and after the program. Log-linear regression models estimated changes in speeds associated with the program; separate logistic regression models estimated changes in the odds of vehicles exceeding the speed limit and exceeding the speed limit by more than 10 mph during and after the program.
Results: The percentage of interviewed drivers in Bishopville and neighboring communities who thought speeding was a major problem on the MD 367 corridor declined from 31.0% (before) to 6.7% (after). The program was associated with a 9.3% reduction in mean speeds, a 78.3% reduction in the odds of exceeding the speed limit by any amount, and a 79.6% reduction in the odds of exceeding the speed limit by more than 10 mph. After the program ended, the mean speeds at the MD 367 sites were 1.5% lower than expected had the program not occurred, the odds of exceeding the speed limit by any amount was 37.2% lower, and the odds of exceeding the speed limit by more than 10 mph was 11.7% higher.
Conclusions: The program was well publicized and reduced speeding, but the effect did not last after the program ended for those traveling at speeds on the higher end. Practical applications: Comprehensive speed management programs that leverage multiple proven strategies, similar to the program in Bishopville, are recommended for application in other communities to reduce speeding.