Dissertations and Theses @ UNI


Thesis (UNI Access Only)


Traffic signs and signals; Automobiles--Speed;


This study examines the effects child safety warning signs have on vehicle speeds. Three types of signs were chosen for this study. These signs are intended to make drivers aware the upcoming area may have an increased likelihood of children. The “Deaf Child Area” sign, the “Playground” sign and the standard school zone signage was chosen for this research. This study evaluated vehicle speeds prior to entering the zone where these signs are in use, and the speeds after the driver has had time to react to the posted signage. The speeds were compared to determine if the presence of the signage had resulted in a reduction of vehicle speeds. The speeds were also evaluated to determine the percentage of vehicles in compliance with the posted speed limit. Data from the school zone signage study were examined to investigate if the AM or PM school zone periods were shown to have better compliance. Data collection for this study was completed with the use of speed collection devices with magnetic vehicle sensors placed in the travel lane, as well as directional radar units mounted on utility poles. These devices collected data for 24 hours, providing the date, time and speed for all passing vehicles.

Statistical analysis and comparative testing of the speed data were used to determine if driver speed was effected as a result of encountering these child safety warning signs. The results from this study found the “Deaf Child Area” sign did not reduce vehicle speeds or increase speed limit compliance. The “Playground” sign study was found to produce inconclusive results. A few locations experienced a slight speed reduction. However, when factoring in a test of practical significance, which for this study was a 2.5 mph or greater speed reduction, the results did not validate the “Playground” sign has the effect of reducing speeds. The “Playground” sign was found to increase speed limit compliance in a few locations, but overall did not produce consistent results that would signify the “Playground” sign increases speed limit compliance.

Analysis of the school zone signage data revealed speeds were reduced in 60% of the AM and PM school zones. Five school zone locations provided an AM and PM study, resulting in 10 total studies. Factoring in a minimum speed reduction of 2.5 mph or greater, the results decreased to 40% of school zones meeting this requirement. The AM school zone period was found to have lower speeds and increased speed limit compliance when compared to the PM period for all locations. The results of the school zone study found the school zone signage was likely to reduce vehicle speeds in the AM period, but speeds were not slowed enough to be considered within compliance with the school zone speed limit.

Year of Submission


Degree Name

Master of Arts


Department of Geography

First Advisor

Tim Strauss

Date Original


Object Description

1 PDF file (ix, 117 pages)



File Format


Off-Campus Download