Oregon Department of Transportation, Highway Division

Rule Rule 734-020-0010
Establishment of Speed Limits on Interstate Highways (Except Variable Speed Zones, see OAR 734-020-0018)


(1)

Definitions:

(a)

“Commission” means the Oregon Transportation Commission.

(b)

“Department” means the Oregon Department of Transportation.

(c)

“Trucks” means a motor vehicle with a gross vehicle weight greater than 8,000 pounds that is primarily designed or used for carrying or drawing loads other than passengers.

(d)

“Interstate congestion level” means the ratio of average daily traffic volumes to capacity for an interstate highway as reported by the Department’s congestion management system.

(e)

“Rate” means the number of crashes, injuries, or fatalities per vehicle miles traveled on a lineal section of roadway.

(f)

“Speed Zone Review Panel” means the advisory committee created (by OAR 734-020-0015 (Establishment of Speed Zones on Public Roads Except Public Paved Low Volume or Public Unpaved Roads)) to hear contested speed zone cases on public roadways in Oregon. Membership consists of representatives from the Oregon State Police, the Oregon Transportation Safety Committee, the League of Oregon Cities, the Association of Oregon Counties and the Department of Transportation.

(2)

Process for Establishing a Speed Limit on Sections of Interstate Highway Exceeding One Mile in Length. The following procedures apply when the Department of Transportation proposes to establish a speed limit on any section of interstate highway more than one mile in length under ORS 810.180 (Designation of maximum speeds) (for less than one mile see Section (3) of this rule):

(a)

The Department will establish sections of interstate highway for investigation based on the site specific characteristics such as crash history, physical conditions and traffic conditions. Sections will be as long as possible in order to achieve consistency in speed zoning on interstate highways. For each section of interstate highway under consideration the Department will prepare an engineering investigation report that will include all of the following:

(A)

The average speed and the speed at or below which 85 percent of the vehicles sampled were traveling.

(B)

Crash data to include the total number and rates for all crashes, injuries and fatalities.

(C)

Law enforcement review and input including enforcement levels.

(D)

The speeds, the crash data, and the law enforcement input required by paragraphs (A) through (C) of this subsection collected separately for trucks and for all other vehicles.

(E)

Roadway geometry and physical characteristics, including curvature, interchange spacing, lane widths, and shoulder widths.

(F)

Traffic characteristics, including the interstate congestion levels, average daily volumes, and the percentage of trucks.

(G)

Emergency medical services availability, including response times.

(H)

Trucking restrictions, including weight and height restrictions.

(I)

Type and frequency of adverse road conditions, including weather, environment, and visibility.

(b)

The Speed Zone Review Panel will determine if an issues report documenting potential impacts, benefits, and issues related to changes in interstate highway speed limits will be required and what items need to be included. The report will be applicable to all sections of interstate highway under consideration. The Speed Zone Review Panel may require the Department to include one or more of the following items, but this does not limit the Department to include only those items the Panel selects within the issues report:

(A)

Current available local, national and international research on interstate highway speed limits changes as it relates to:

(i)

Changes in fatalities and injuries and their corresponding impacts to emergency medical services and trauma care;

(ii)

Environmental pollution and fuel efficiency issues; and

(iii)

Economic effects, including changes in travel efficiency and movement of goods.

(B)

Speed enforcement practices.

(c)

The Department will recommend a speed that is indicated by the engineering investigation report required by subsection (a) and an issues report if required by the Speed Zone Review Panel in subsection (b) of this section to be reasonable and safe under the conditions found to exist for each section of interstate highway being considered.

(d)

If the speed recommended in subsection (c) of this section is greater or less than the existing speed, the Department will prepare a draft rule specifying the recommended speed(s) and present it to the Speed Zone Review Panel.

(e)

The Speed Zone Review Panel will determine if one or more public meetings in the same region as the section(s) of interstate highway under consideration are required for the purpose of receiving comments from the public. If public meetings are required, the Department will provide notification to the public at least 30 days prior to any such meeting.

(f)

The Department will prepare a report of the comments received at the public meeting(s) required by subsection (e) of this section, including both general comments and those for a specific section of interstate highway.

(g)

The Speed Zone Review Panel will make a recommendation to the Commission of a reasonable and safe speed for a section of interstate highway under the conditions found to exist and as indicated by the engineering investigation report, the issues report if required, and comments received at the public meetings. A Panel report shall explain the basis of the recommendation.

(h)

The Commission will hold a public hearing prior to adopting the final rule. The Commission, after consideration of the recommendation and explanation from the Speed Zone Review Panel, will make the final determination of a reasonable and safe speed for a section of interstate highway under the conditions found to exist and as indicated by the engineering report, the issues report if required, and comments received at the public hearing. The Commission will then adopt a rule establishing the interstate highway speed limit for each section(s) of interstate highway under consideration.

(i)

The new speed limit becomes enforceable when signs are posted.

(3)

Process for Establishing a Speed Limit for Sections of Interstate Highway One Mile or Less. The following procedures apply when the Department of Transportation proposes to designate a speed limit or extend, shorten or otherwise modify the boundaries on any section of designated speed limits for interstate highways which are currently listed in OAR 734-020-0011 (Locations of Interstate Speed Limits Other Than Set in Statute), not to exceed one mile:

(a)

The Department will establish sections of interstate highway for investigation based on the site-specific characteristics such as crash history, physical conditions and traffic conditions. For each section of interstate highway under consideration the Department will prepare an engineering investigation report that will include all of the following:

(A)

The average speed and the speed at or below which 85 percent of the vehicles sampled were traveling;

(B)

The crash rate for the specific section of highway being considered;

(C)

The average crash rate for similar functional classification highways (if available);

(D)

Roadway geometry and physical characteristics, including number of lanes, curvature, interchange spacing, lane widths, shoulder widths, and adjacent land use;

(E)

Traffic characteristics, including the interstate congestion levels, average daily volumes, and the percentage of trucks.

(b)

The maximum length is one mile when establishing or modifying the boundaries of an existing speed limit on the interstate under section (3) of this rule.

(c)

The Department will recommend a speed that is indicated by the engineering investigation report required by subsection (a) of this section to be reasonable and safe under the conditions found to exist for each section of interstate highway being considered to be established, extended, shortened or modified.

(d)

If the recommended speed limit boundary in subsection (c) of this section exceeds the maximum length described in subsection (b) of this rule, the Department will follow the applicable portions of Section (2) of this rule to amend OAR 734-020-0011 (Locations of Interstate Speed Limits Other Than Set in Statute).

(e)

For speed limit boundary changes, if the speed recommended in subsection (c) of this section is greater or less than the existing speed limit specified in OAR 734-020-0011 (Locations of Interstate Speed Limits Other Than Set in Statute), the Department will prepare a draft rule specifying the changes to the boundaries and speed limits depending on the recommendation.

(A)

The Speed Zone Review Panel will make a recommendation to the Commission of a reasonable and safe speed for a section of interstate highway under the conditions found to exist and as indicated by the engineering investigation report. A Panel recommendation shall explain the basis of the proposal.

(B)

The Commission may hold a public hearing prior to adopting the final rule. The Commission, after consideration of the recommendation and explanation from the Speed Zone Review Panel, will make the final determination of appropriate boundaries for a section of interstate highway under the conditions found to exist and as indicated by the engineering report. The Commission may then adopt an amended rule establishing a speed limit or modifying the existing interstate highway speed limit boundaries for each section(s) of interstate highway under consideration.

(f)

The new speed limit becomes enforceable when signs are posted.

(4)

Process for review of interstate highway speed limit:

(a)

The Department will, for the first four years after the establishment of any speed limit on interstate highways under section (2), conduct an annual review of crash and fatality history. A written record of the annual review will be provided to the Governor’s office and maintained by the Department.

(b)

At any time that interstate highway crash trends significantly change, the Department will perform an analysis of the crash patterns on affected sections of interstate highway to determine if a review of speed limits is appropriate.

(c)

The Department may review an interstate highway speed limit at any time at the discretion of the Commission or the State Traffic-Roadway Engineer.

(d)

If appropriate, the Department will follow the process in section (2) or (3) as appropriate to initiate rulemaking to make changes to the interstate speed designations.
Source

Last accessed
Jun. 8, 2021