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Home >Technical Subjects >Traffic Issues>MUTCD Standards on Speed Limits

MUTCD Standards on Speed Limits

Section 2B.13 Speed Limit Sign (R2-1)

  • Standard: After an engineering study has been made in accordance with established traffic engineering practices, the Speed Limit (R2-1) sign (see Figure 2B-1) shall display the limit established by law, ordinance, regulation, or as adopted by the authorized agency. The speed limits shown shall be in multiples of 10 km/h or 5 mph.
  • Guidance: At least once every 5 years, States and local agencies should reevaluate non-statutory speed limits on segments of their roadways that have undergone a significant change in roadway characteristics or surrounding land use since the last review. No more than three speed limits should be displayed on any one Speed Limit sign or assembly. When a speed limit is to be posted, it should be within 10 km/h or 5 mph of the 85th-percentile speed of free-flowing traffic.
  • Option: Other factors that may be considered when establishing speed limits are the following:
    • Road characteristics, shoulder condition, grade, alignment, and sight distance
    • The pace speed
    • Roadside development and environment
    • Parking practices and pedestrian activity
    • Reported crash experience for at least a 12-month period

    Two types of Speed Limit signs may be used: one to designate passenger car speeds, including any nighttime information or minimum speed limit that might apply; and the other to show any special speed limits for trucks and other vehicles. A changeable message sign that changes the speed limit for traffic and ambient conditions may be installed provided that the appropriate speed limit is shown at the proper times.

    A changeable message sign that displays to approaching drivers the speed at which they are traveling may be installed in conjunction with a Speed Limit sign.

  • Guidance: If a changeable message sign displaying approach speeds is installed, the legend YOUR SPEED XX km/h (MPH) or such similar legend should be shown. The color of the changeable message legend should be a yellow legend on a black background or the reverse of these colors.
  • Support: Advisory Speed signs are discussed in Sections 2C.36 and 2C.46 and Temporary Traffic Control Zone Speed signs are discussed in Part 6.

Section 2B.03 Size of Speed Limit Signs

  • Standard: The Speed Limit Sign (R2-1) shall be 24” by 30” unless conditions warrant a larger sign which can be 36” by 48” or 48” by 60”
  • Option: The Oversized size may be used for those special applications where speed, volume, or other factors result in conditions where increased emphasis, improved recognition, or increased legibility would be desirable

Section 2B.18 Location of Speed Limit Signs

  • Standard: Speed Limit (R2-1) signs, indicating speed limits for which posting is required by law, shall be located at the points of change from one speed limit to another. At the end of the section to which a speed limit applies, a Speed Limit sign showing the next speed limit shall be installed. Additional Speed Limit signs shall be installed beyond major intersections and at other locations where it is necessary to remind road users of the speed limit that is applicable.

    Speed Limit signs indicating the statutory speed limits shall be installed at entrances to the State and at jurisdictional boundaries of metropolitan areas.

This page last updated on 1/9/13