Speed Limits

How are Speed Limits determined?

By ordinance, the speed limit in Springfield is 25 mph, unless otherwise posted. A lower speed limit of 20 mph can only be found in school zones, university campuses, the downtown, and Commercial Street business districts.

Speed limits higher than 25 mph are determined through engineering studies that consider the design, character, and surrounding of the roadway, and most importantly, the prevailing speed of the "average prudent" driver. Most motorists base their speed largely on the "feel" of the roadway. If a speed limit was set unreasonably low for a certain type of street, most drivers would tend to ignore the signs, which would lower compliance all across Springfield.

Most neighborhood streets are classified as "local" residential streets and are therefore posted at 25 mph. However, the neighborhoods' "local street" grid is typically broken up every so often by a "collector" street which is posted at 30mph. These collector streets are meant to carry more traffic, drawing traffic away from the local streets and onto even larger streets, the major arterial streets. Collector streets are posted at 30 mph or 35 mph.    

25 mph - Why not lower?

25 mph is a reasonable speed that most drivers are willing to comply with within a residential setting. It is important that speed limits are kept realistic: If posted speeds are too low, most drivers would choose to ignore the signs. City ordinance authorizes the Traffic Engineer to post 20 miles per hour (mph) school speed limit signs 200 feet beyond the school property on streets where the reduced speed limit is warranted. In addition, city council has also approved special ordinances for lower speed limits in the Park Central, Commercial Street commercial districts, and the Southwest Missouri State University campus.

25mph - Why not higher?

It is important to protect our most vulnerable traffic participants in our neighborhoods, the pedestrians and bicyclists. At 25mph, a driver is more likely to see an obstacle in time to start breaking. Studies have found that a pedestrian hit at 20 mph impact speed has an average survival chance of 95%, while a pedestrian hit at 30 mph has only a 60% survival chance (and 20% at 40mph impact speed).

Please note, sometimes 25mph is not slow enough! Depending on weather, on-street parking or other conditions, walking speed may be in order! It is always the responsibility of ALL drivers to exercise reasonable care for the protection of others.

Speed matters! Set the pace and join our DRIVE 25 program to promote safer neighborhoods!

Where are 25mph speed limit signs placed? 

Too many traffic signs can become a source of frustration or lead to driver information overload. Public Works typically places the yellow bordered 25mph signs at the entry points of neighborhoods, where local residential streets meet busy arterial streets. This way a driver that enters the neighborhood knows that speed limit is 25 mph on the interior street system. If there is a need to place another 25mph sign (if there are many blocks or a collector street is in-between), the standard white 25 mph sign is installed. 

To report a missing speed limit sign or to request a new location, please submit a service request or call the Citizen Resource center at 864-1010.