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Impacts of low-speed vehicles on transportation infrastructure and safety


  • Hunter-Zaworski, K. M.

    () (Oregon State University)


Increasing numbers of low-speed electric vehicles (LSVs) now operate on public roadways. These vehicles are designed to be used within protected environments and on roadways with a maximum posted speed of 25 mph. Currently, these vehicles are not subject to the same federal requirements for occupant protection as passenger cars. The research reported in this paper investigated safety standards, operating regulations, and LSV manufacturer materials from sources around the world. The purpose of the research was to determine the positive and negative impacts that LSVs, including neighborhood electric vehicles (NEVs) and medium-speed electric vehicles (MSEVs), are likely to have for states such as Oregon and whether adjustments in state regulations are needed to ensure that LSVs do not negatively affect road safety and traffic operations or expose LSVs operators to undue risk. The US and Canadian federal motor vehicle safety agencies have harmonized their regulations and stipulated the maximum operating speed of these vehicles; however, state and local roadway authorities have regulated the maximum speed of roadways and intersection characteristics on which these vehicles can operate. The significant recommendations of this research are: (1) Appropriate state statues for LSVs should be amended such that LSVs are limited to public roadways with a maximum operating speed of 25 mph and are restricted to crossing higher speed roadways at four-way stop or signal-controlled intersections; and (2) Local transportation authorities should develop parallel or secondary low-speed roadway networks that connect residential neighborhoods with major activity centers.

Suggested Citation

  • Hunter-Zaworski, K. M., 2012. "Impacts of low-speed vehicles on transportation infrastructure and safety," The Journal of Transport and Land Use, Center for Transportation Studies, University of Minnesota, vol. 5(2), pages 68-76.
  • Handle: RePEc:ris:jtralu:0083

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    More about this item


    low-speed electric vehicles; LSVs; safety standards; operating regulations; neighborhood electric vehicles; NEVs; medium-speed electric vehicles; MSEVs; Oregon;

    JEL classification:

    • R40 - Urban, Rural, Regional, Real Estate, and Transportation Economics - - Transportation Economics - - - General


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