North/West Passage
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Project 10.6
Multistate Assessment of Interstate Speed Limit Impacts

Legislation often influences speed limits established by state departments of transportation. Federal legislation outlines parameters that must be followed for a state to receive federal funding. State legislation can mandate speed studies, changes to speeds limits and even how speeding violations are managed.

In 2014, the Minnesota Legislature requested the evaluation of two-lane, two-way roadways with posted speed limits of 55 MPH (2014 Minnesota Law Chapter 312-H.F. 3172, Sec. 36. Evaluation of Certain Trunk Highway Speed Limits). The legislation requires MnDOT to study approximately one-fifth of all the roads subject to investigation each year until the statewide study is complete in 2019. MnDOT's 2014 report (PDF) resulted in speed limits being raised from 55 MPH to 60 MPH on 38 of 52 control sections.

In addition to setting speed limits, enforcing them is an ongoing challenge. In August 2014, I-90/I-94 was the focus of enhanced enforcement through a campaign led by the Minnesota State Patrol in partnership with IACP, NHTSA and law enforcement from 15 states. The I-90/I-94 Challenge was schedule using data from NHTSA and individual states' crash data. There were several goals associated with the Challenge but the most prominent was zero fatalities during the 4-day enforcement period. There were over 20,000 traffic enforcement contacts during the Challenge and two fatalities.

In March 2015, South Dakota's Governor signed a state transportation funding bill that establishes funding for transportation projects and raises the maximum speed limit on South Dakota intersects to 80 MPH.

This project will examine the North/West Passage states' current practices for setting speeds limits along I-90/I-94 and assess the impacts of higher speed limits and varying speed limits along the multistate corridor.

Site Updated: Jan 28, 2019
North/West Passage