Reduced-speed school zones greatly improve the safety of young children commuting to and from school and provide larger gaps in traffic for children to cross the street. The main focus of this study was to determine effective methods for increasing speed compliance in reduced-speed school zones. This objective was accomplished through an in-depth literature review, a public opinion survey of Utah drivers, and an evaluation of the effects of speed monitoring displays (SMDs) in school zones. The main focus of the literature review was to determine how to increase and maintain speed limit compliance within school zones. Information about the following topics with respect to school zones was researched and compiled: traffic control devices, SMDs, law enforcement, and other speed influences. A public survey was developed and implemented to evaluate the feelings and concerns of Utah drivers with respect to school-zone safety and school-zone traffic control devices. The survey was conducted in various locations throughout the state of Utah and proved to be an effective tool. The majority of those surveyed felt there was a need to improve school-zone safety in Utah. An evaluation of SMDs in four school zones throughout the state was performed. The results concluded that the SMDs analyzed in this study proved to increase speed compliance in most cases. In some cases, the SMDs maintained their effectiveness at increasing speed compliance over time; on the other hand, others lost some of their effectiveness over time, possibly due to higher percentages of commuter traffic. For the most part, speed compliance increased as manifested by the decrease in mean speed, standard deviation, 10 mph pace range, and the percentage of vehicles exceeding the 20 mph school-zone speed limit. In summary, the results of this study suggest that a combination of effective traffic control devices, public education, and appropriate law enforcement are all necessary to improve speed-limit compliance in school zones.



College and Department

Ira A. Fulton College of Engineering and Technology; Civil and Environmental Engineering



Date Submitted


Document Type





reduce speed, school zones, speed limit compliance, safety, pedestrians, child safety, speed monitoring displays, traffic control devices