Would relaxing speed limits aggravate safety?: A case study of Hong Kong

S. C. Wong, Nang Ngai Sze, Hong K. Lo, W. T. Hung, Becky P.Y. Loo

Research output: Journal article publicationJournal articleAcademic researchpeer-review

26 Citations (Scopus)


This paper studies the effect of the changed speed limits on accident counts for major roadways in the urban environment of Hong Kong. In 1999-2002, the speed limits of a number of sections of roadway were reviewed and increased. Nineteen of them were major roadways. Their speed limits were raised by 10-20 km/h from 50 to 70 km/h. Before and after studies were carried out to investigate the changes in accident counts with respect to the set of carefully chosen comparison groups. Qualification tests for these comparison groups were conducted to confirm their suitability for the studies. In the majority of the treatment sites, the accident counts were worse after the increase in speed limits, both for the category of fatal, serious and slight (FSS) accidents, and for the category of fatal and serious (FS) accidents. Overall, the relaxation of the speed limit from 50 to 70 km/h increased the FSS accident counts by 15% and the FS accident counts by 1%. The relaxation of the speed limit from 70 to 80 km/h increased the FSS accident counts by 18% and the FS accident counts by 36%.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)377-388
Number of pages12
JournalAccident Analysis and Prevention
Issue number2
Publication statusPublished - 1 Mar 2005


  • Accident counts
  • Before and after study
  • Comparison group
  • Road safety
  • Speed limit
  • Treatment group

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Human Factors and Ergonomics
  • Safety, Risk, Reliability and Quality
  • Public Health, Environmental and Occupational Health
  • Law

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