Date of Award

8-2007

Document Type

Thesis

Degree Name

Master of Science (MS)

Legacy Department

Civil Engineering

Advisor

Ogle, Jennifer

Committee Member

Brooks , Johnell

Committee Member

Chowdhury , Mashrur

Abstract

TThis study analyzed driver's speeds prior to entering school zones as well as the speeds traveling through school zones. A comparison was conducted to determine if drivers complied with school speed zones using only the standard school sign arrangement found in the Manual on Uniform Traffic Control Device. Two rural school zones in Oconee County, South Carolina were analyzed in this study as rural areas tend to have higher speeds and fewer other factors that could contribute to changes in driver behavior. In order to gather data, data collection devices known as Hi-Stars were placed in the roadway on both approaches to the schools. These devices record several parameters for all vehicles passing over the device including: date, time, speed, vehicle length, and headway.
Statistical analyses were performed on the speed data to determine if drivers do slow down in school zones for the posted times as compared to upstream travel speeds. Speeds in the school zones were found to be lower, but not fully compliant with the posted school speed limit. However, compliance was greater at the elementary school where the difference between posted limits was 10 mph, as compared to the high school with a 20 mph differential in posted speeds. The regular speed limit on approach to both schools was 55 mph. . It was unclear if school level had an affect on driver speeds because the posted school zone speed limits were different. It was also found that the lane adjacent to the school had lower speeds than the lane opposite the school. This could be a result of better traffic flow in the presence of a left turn lane for the lane opposite the school - no right turn lane was present for the lanes closest the schools. Although the speeds during the morning and afternoon times.

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