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Guide for Establishing School Speed Zones

This document is an update to the 2012 “A Guide to Establishing Speed Limits in School Zones.” Since the 2012 version, changes in research and best practices have occurred in relation to the safety of people walking and biking as well as school zone safety. Safe Routes to School (SRTS) resources and Safe Systems initiatives now offer more holistic evaluation of school area safety, stressing the importance of a layered and redundant safety approach.

This document provides guidance on setting appropriate School Zone Speed Limits (SZSLs). It is based on current best practices and provides a step-by-step process for identifying and implementing an appropriate SZSL as well as other important characteristics for designing a school zone. This document also provides links to valuable resources that are meant to compliment a SZSL. While research shows that appropriate SZSLs on their own have the ability to lower motorist speeds within school zones, the multifaceted approach covered in a SRTS plan is considered best practice for improving school area safety.

SZSLs should be considered just one of many steps for improving the safety of students, parents and staff walking, biking and rolling to school.