Public Provides Feedback on Radar Speed Signs

Radar speed sign on Fauntleroy Way SW

Radar speed signs have been popping up throughout the city over the past few years.  More than 20 radar speed signs currently line our local arterial streets displaying the posted speed limit and the speed of oncoming vehicles.  These signs are intended to educate drivers by providing direct feedback to drivers and remind them to slow down.  Radar speed signs have become a valuable tool for transportation agencies countrywide to reduce speeds and, in turn, improve traffic safety. 

Radar speed sign on Aurora

The newest radar speed signs installed in Seattle have the ability to capture speed data which can be downloaded via a wireless network for analysis.  This capability will allow us to easily capture speeds, pinpoint trouble spots, and more effectively collaborate with our partners at the Seattle Police Department. 

SDOT studies have shown that these units reduce the speed of the majority of drivers by three to five miles per hour.  Up to this point, however, not much local research has gone into the public perception of radar speed signs.  With the recent installation of five new units on Aurora, SDOT conducted a simple survey at nearby Green Lake to talk to the community and get the public’s thoughts on these signs. 

Over the course of an hour, staff spoke with 50 drivers about the speed signs (a small sample but a start nonetheless).  Of those surveyed, 91 percent said that they’ve seen radar speed signs in the city of Seattle – a sign that these units have been well placed along our roadways.  Most of the people we spoke with, three quarters of them to be exact, said that they believe these signs cause other drivers to slow down.  Perhaps most encouraging is that nearly 80 percent said they check their speed when passing a radar speed sign.      

It should be noted that several people that participated in the survey stated that they always drive at the speed limit so the radar speed signs do not affect their speed – driving behavior we should all strive for.    

While this survey represents just a small sample of driver attitudes towards radar speed signs, it seems as if these signs are affecting the behavior of the majority of drivers as intended. For drivers that are unaffected by these signs and exceed the speed limit, expect a very educational $124 ticket from SPD.

SPD uses radar too