Setting Speed Limits: The 85 Percentile
We’ve heard this spiel before…now it’s in a video. Thanks.
This process needs to be altered so that the comfort and safety of our driving-selves isn’t the only item considered in the setting of speeds. The 85th percentile has some logic to it, but it’s highway logic and not neighborhood and city logic. It has a built-in bias towards faster drivers. The quick is, the 85th percentile assumes that most drivers are reasonable, don’t want to crash and only concerned with the shortest amount of travel time. The latter of which we have seemed all to willing to reward.
What’s missing from the process is reminders are needed to help us be prudent drivers. Any street that runs through a city needs to be designed and managed in the priority of first and foremost the safety for all users before the setting of traffic speeds. This
may will involve different approaches to designing roads than has been customary. Traverse City’s Division St. is a great example. Sure, an officer may argue that perhaps 40-mph is too slow according to the 85th percentile numbers, but the context of the street (family homes, city parkland, and businesses) needs to rise in level of importance in the consideration.
Of course, the National Motorist Association disagrees with all of this.