Online Program

Community speed reduction: A win-win for injury prevention and active living

Wednesday, November 6, 2013

Kathleen McCabe, MPA, Policy and Practice Department, Health Resources in Action, Boston, MA
Mariana Arcaya, ScD, MCP, Society Human Development and Health, Harvard School of Public Health, Boston, MA
The purpose of this session is to provide the public health evidence base for community speed reduction policies that support a safe road environment for all road users. Even small increases in traffic speeds produce disproportionately larger threats to pedestrians, bicyclists, and other vulnerable road users. This presentation will describe the evidence showing that community-wide traffic calming strategies effectively reduce motor-vehicle speed and consequently reduce the number and seriousness of road traffic injuries. Furthermore, we will describe the potential effect that community wide speed reduction interventions may have on increasing walking and cycling rates.Researchers conducted a literature review to understand the evidence linking traffic calming and speed reduction with two public health outcomes: a reduction in injuries and fatalities, and an increase in active transportation. In addition, the researchers conducted a policy and practice scan to capture information on what strategies U.S. communities have used to control vehicle speeds, which included interviewing five key informants. The researchers then created a Policy Impact Brief which describes speed as a public health problem and offers policy solutions for policy makers and public health and transportation professionals to consider. They also developed a series of six cases studies that further describe local speed reduction successes. Communities across the United States are working to reduce high motor vehicle speeds. There are policies and practices that effectively slow traffic to speeds that are safer for all road users. The researchers conclude that recommended policies fall within the following categories: 1) Design and retrofit road networks to ensure safe speeds for all road users. 2) Expand use of automated technologies to enforce speed limits. 3) Reduce speed limits and create designated slow zones. High speeds affect vulnerable road users disproportionately. Community-wide policies that reduce motor vehicle speeds will improve public health.

Learning Areas:

Other professions or practice related to public health
Public health or related organizational policy, standards, or other guidelines
Public health or related public policy

Learning Objectives:
Describe motor-vehicle speeds on local and arterial roads as a public health problem Identify the benefits of vehicle speed reduction on injury and fatality rates and improving environmental conditions that promote active transportation Evaluate evidence-based policies and practices and make recommendations to achieve area-wide vehicle speed reductions

Keyword(s): Public Policy, Community Planning

Presenting author's disclosure statement:

Qualified on the content I am responsible for because: I have facilitated and been the lead author for a federally funded research and policy analysis grant, through which I convened a panel of technical experts from across the country, to evaluate and recommended evidence-based best practices for speed reduction policies and practices.
Any relevant financial relationships? No

I agree to comply with the American Public Health Association Conflict of Interest and Commercial Support Guidelines, and to disclose to the participants any off-label or experimental uses of a commercial product or service discussed in my presentation.