The Highway Traffic Board (HTB) was created to remove political influence from overriding the application of proper traffic engineering principles in the setting of speed limits in Manitoba.
It was, for speed limit application with continuity, traffic flow and safety as being more important than the political whims from jurisdiction to jurisdiction.
It was to ensure that the setting of speed limits was done in a fair and consistent manner, and with a direct ear to traffic engineering experts, utilising sound principles sourced from international traffic engineering standards.
The current government is working toward the dissolution of this important function, and placing speed limit setting in the control of politicians in the various municipalities over the Highway Traffic Board and their professional traffic engineers.
THE HTB'S FUNCTION WAS TO ENSURE SCIENCE AND ENGINEERING PREVAILED OVER EMOTION AND POLITICS IN TRAFFIC MANAGEMENT...THAT THE GOOD OF THE MANY OR THE WHOLE WERE SUPERSEDED OVER THE GOOD OF THE ONE OR THE FEW.
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Such a criterion recognises that the majority of motorists operate their vehicle in a reasonable and prudent manner with due consideration for conditions encountered, including activity into and out of intersecting public streets and approaches as well as the presence of pedestrians and bicyclists on or near the roadway.
By setting speed limits using the 85th percentile speed, the range of speeds is lessened, providing a more uniform flow of traffic. Studies have shown that:
- more collisions occur when the speeds of vehicles are varied with extremely high or low speeds encountered;
- setting speed limits lower than that considered reasonable to the majority of drivers encourages disrespect of speed limits in general;
- posted speed limits which are set higher or lower than that dictated by roadway and traffic conditions are ignored by the majority of motorists; and that
- when speed limits are raised or lowered, there is very little impact on motorists’ actual speeds.
Safe, “credible speed limits” can be expected to enhance motorists’ compliance to the speed limit, which in turn can result in a reduction in collisions than would otherwise be the case.
If a speed limit is not credible, motorists will be inclined to elect to drive at a speed that they perceive to be realistic. If speed limits are perceived as being incredible too frequently, it will challenge the public’s trust in the speed limit system generally. A speed limit can be incredible because the speed limit is either perceived as being too low or as being too high.
The net effect of incredible speed limits is that motorists will increasingly disregard that and consequently with frequent incredible limits, motorists will begin more and more disregarding road rules and regulations.
If it is noticed that drivers are disregarding speed and other regulations, it is often a symptom of the application of improper traffic engineering.