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Open Access Publications from the University of California

Research Synthesis for the California Zero Traffic Fatalities Task Force

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This research synthesis consists of a set of white papers that jointly provide a review of research on the current practicefor setting speed limits and future opportunities to improve roadway safety. This synthesis was developed to inform thework of the Zero Traffic Fatalities Task Force, which was formed in 2019 by the California State Transportation Agencyin response to California Assembly Bill 2363 (Friedman). The statutory goal of the Task Force is to develop a structured,coordinated process for early engagement of all parties to develop policies to reduce traffic fatalities to zero. Thisreport addresses the following critical issues related to the work of the Task Force: (i) the relationship between trafficspeed and safety; (ii) lack of empirical justification for continuing to use the 85th percentile rule; (iii) why we need toreconsider current speed limit setting practices; (iv) promising alternatives to current methods of setting speed limits;and (v) improving road designs to increase road user safety.

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