Community Speed Control Program

Traffic impacts in residential communities remain an issue in Howard County. These impacts are principally related to excessive vehicular speed within communities. To address these problems, the Police and Public Works departments have implemented a comprehensive community speed control program. The program incorporates three necessary elements to combat excessive vehicular speed: traffic safety education, vehicular law enforcement, and, when needed, the appropriate level of engineering retrofit of roadway conditions.

Because this program is young and its long-term effectiveness is uncertain, the Howard County staff considers it an interim effort. The program will be closely monitored and necessary changes will be made as results are collected. 

Many, if not most, of the communities in the County have requested that action be taken to provide additional speed control in their areas. In order to prioritize the backlog of requests, the Department will rank requests as top priority (school walking routes), second priority (connector or through streets), and third priority (remaining cul-de-sacs or isolated road system communities). 

  • Plan Approval Process - In order to obtain an accurate evaluation of the plan, a community vote will be required. The Department will identify all of the affected properties on the road proposed for traffic calming and streets that connect with it. In order for the plan to be implemented, two-thirds of all affected property holders must vote for the plan. The governing community association will conduct and validate the vote and forward a confirming letter to the Director, Department of Public Works, within 30 days of the tally.

Traffic Safety Awareness Campaign - The Public Information Office will develop an ongoing campaign to heighten public awareness to reduce speeds in residential communities.

  • Rev 10-23-2013
  • Community Association Activities - The two departments will establish an outreach program to work with impacted communities to address the community’s traffic and speed concerns.

The Howard County Department of Police recognizes that excessive speed and other traffic violations in residential areas are a source of concern to the community. The Department will take an active role in enforcing applicable laws, educating the public and making suggestions for road engineering improvements. Law is the principal means of speed control.

  • It is the responsibility of each patrol officer to enforce motor vehicle laws, particularly those involving excessive speed. Radar training and equipment will be provided to as many Patrol Division officers as possible to assist them in this effort during the normal course of their patrols. Supervisors who become aware of speed problems in specific communities will direct their officers to conduct speed enforcement in those areas. 
  • Specific speeding complaints in residential areas will be directed to the Traffic Enforcement Section, which will keep a file of all such complaints. 
  • A Radar Road List will be published each month to direct the enforcement efforts of patrol officers assigned radar or other speed measuring devices. Each road will require a minimum amount of enforcement time. The Supervisor of the Traffic Enforcement Section will approve roads for inclusion on the list based on the number of complaints received, past enforcement history on the road, and analysis of any speed surveys conducted by the Department of Police or Traffic Engineering. 
  • In addition to the monthly Radar Road List, the Tr