Sample of Police Spot Report

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                       Prepared for the
               Governor’s Highway Safety Bureau
                Executive Office of Public Safety
                   10 Park Plaza, Suite 3720
                      Boston, MA 02116
                        (617) 725-3334

                          March 2005

Prepared by MassSAFE at the University of Massachusetts, Amherst
Background and General Description
MassSAFE has worked with the Governor’s Highway Safety Bureau develop a curriculum to
teach community police departments how to conduct spot speed studies. Because it would be
impossible for the GHSB to evaluate every community level speed enforcement program
implemented, providing local departments with the tools to conduct their own spot speed studies
serves two purposes. First, it provides community police with the knowledge base necessary to
design a spot speed study, collect and analyze data, and present the data to appropriate members
of the community (residents, decision-makers, etc). Second, it provides the GHSB with a set of
resources for collecting local data that can then be “pooled” to consider speed and enforcement
programs across several communities. This allows the GHSB to consider the effect of speed
enforcement in different communities by using local resources to collect and analyze data.

The development and implementation of the Spot Speed Study Curriculum Project occurred in
three phases.

Phase 1: Development of Training and Materials
In this phase, national resources were combined with state-level knowledge to create a three part
training package. Part 1 was a PowerPoint presentation used on the day of the training to
highlight important information on the implementation of a spot speed study. In addition,
information about the different types of technologies that might be used to implement a spot
speed study were covered in this presentation. Part 2 was the creation of a Spot Speed Study
Manual. The manual, used to supplement the training session, provides officers with a step-by-
step description of how to implement the study (including site selection, technology selection,
and preparation for data collection), how to collect the data (including data collection methods
used by several different types of collection technologies), how to analyze the data, and how to
present the data. Part 3 was a field demonstration of several different types of technologies and a
hands-on demonstration and discussion of several of the technologies as they would be used in
the field. Training materials used are included in the appendix.

Phase 2: Pilot Training Session To test the
materials and gather feedback from police on the        Attending Departments:
type of information they would like to learn, and       • Attleboro Police Department
the presentation styles that are most effective, the    • Auburn Police Department
Spot Speed Study Training was offered as a pilot        • Belchertown Police Department
to 13 local police departments on March 15, at the      • Boston Police Department
University of Massachusetts, Amherst. These             • Dalton Police Department
departments were a mix of large urban police            • Fitchburg Police Department
departments and smaller departments.          Some      • Foxborough Police Department
attending communities had conducted multiple            • Sturbridge Police Department
spot speed studies in their communities and could       • UMass, Amherst Police Department
offer practical advice on the implementation of         • Walpole Police Department
spot speed studies. Other departments had never         • Webster Police Department
conducted a spot speed study at all.      This mix      • Wellfleet Police Department
provided an ideal combination of department sizes
                                                        • Yarmouth Police Department
and experience levels for gathering feedback that
would address the needs of any type
of attendee at a future training

The training session, presented by Dr.
Michael A. Knodler, Jr., Assistant
Professor in the Department of Civil
and Environmental Engineering, and
MassSAFE Fellow, included the
presentation of materials, review of
the     manual,      discussion     of
technologies and techniques applied
by departments attending the session,
and a discussion of other information
that would be useful to have at future
training sessions.       The training
session, which lasted from 10am to
3pm was a combination of classroom
style    learning     with    hand-on
demonstrations         of      several

Phase 3: Report on Training Session and Identification of Next Steps
Based on the feedback provided by the attending police departments, a summary of
recommendations and next steps was developed to be used in guiding future implementation of
the Spot Speed Training Session. These findings and recommendations are included below.

Findings and Recommendations
Based on the feedback provided by the attending police
                                                         I thought it was quite informative
officers during the discussion component of the
                                                         and helpful. I hope this will
Training Session, the following recommendations are
                                                         develop into something for all law
made for future implementation.
                                                         enforcement     professionals    to
General Findings and Recommendations
   1. The Spot Speed Study Training Session
                                                         …my Chief will be very happy
      provided valuable information for police
                                                         with the new information I will
      departments on both the technologies available
                                                         bring to him concerning speed data
      and sound techniques for data collection and
                                                         collection and the technologies that
      analysis.   The Spot Speed Study Training
                                                         are out there to assist our
                                                         department in the processing of it.
                                                                         -Officer Dan DiFusco
                                                                     Webster Police Department
       Session should be offered to other police departments throughout the Commonwealth.
       This may be done by conducting the Training at different locations to attract departments
       from different regions of Massachusetts.

   2. There was a notable level of interest in the use of data collected during a spot speed study
      for local discussions around speed-limit setting. With a general understanding that this
      would be a situation for collaboration between the enforcement community and the
      engineering community (local Departments of Public Works (DPW) and MassHighway,
      this interest specifically included the following:
          a. The process for approaching MassHighway or a DPW about re-evaluating the
               speed limit on a particular roadway;
          b. The use of rational speed limit setting (speed limits based on the 85th percentile
               travel speed) and any movement towards that as a standard; and
          c. The process for posting signage in areas where there is no signage .

   3. There were several inquiries which pointed to the need for specialized information in
      areas where unique circumstances applied. This specialized information might be best
      suited for Training Sessions held in particular regions of the state where those special
      circumstances are most prevalent. The two circumstances specifically identified at this
      training were the following:
          a. Areas with high tourist population and non-resident drivers who play a significant
              role in the driver population at certain times of the year (Cape Cod during the
              summer for example); and
          b. Areas with a rapid rate of growth and new development where increased traffic,
              changes in land use around a roadway, changes in intersection functionality, etc.
              become an issue and residents and enforcement communities are interested in
              information to support/refute the claims of local business and residents.

Specific Findings and Recommendations
In addition to the general findings, there were several specific recommendations that are made
based on the feedback provided.

Technologies: Nine of the 13 communities in attendance currently conduct spot speed studies.
The technologies used by these communities include LiDAR, radar, tubes, speed feedback
trailers, and Sensor Triad Group. There was considerable interest in more information on two
specific types of technologies: neumetric and acoustic. In addition, there was significant interest
in more information on the costs associated with purchasing these technologies both in terms of
hardware and related software. The inclusion of non-vendor-specific information regarding costs
for hardware and software would be helpful for departments seeking funding internally or from
external sources for purchasing the necessary equipment.

Data Analysis: Most departments were less interested with hand-tabulation methods of
collecting and analyzing data and were far more interested in software that did a great deal of the
analysis for them. More information on the use of different software – both those associated
with specific types of technologies as well as some general software – would help police
understand how the data are analyzed and what the results mean.
Presentation of Data: There was noted interest in identifying the most appropriate ways to
convey information. While several sample graphs and the identification of several methods for
presenting the information to the community were provided, further samples of actual materials
used in some communities or pointers on how to present the data would be a helpful supplement
to the materials already included in the training session.

Overall, the Spot Speed Training Session was a success. With an original goal of 10
departments, the interest of 13 departments in attending this pilot session indicates the appeal of
this type of training session to local police departments. Feedback provided both during the
discussion session and in subsequent correspondence indicates that the session was well-received
and that future implementation of a full schedule of Spot Speed Training Sessions at locations
throughout Massachusetts.

Appendix: Spot Speed Study Training Materials:

           o A: PowerPoint Presentation

           o B: Spot Speed Study Manual

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