Skip to main content

City of Madison

Traffic Engineering - Yang Tao, Director


  • Call Traffic Engineering for more information, (608)266-4761

One of the tools the City uses to educate drivers about speeding is the Neighborhood Speed Watch Program. This is a tool that the City offers to residents to use to educate drivers about speeding in their neighborhood.

Since the Spring of 1992, this program has been getting residents directly involved in solving speeding problems in their own neighborhoods.

With guidance from the Traffic Engineering Division and support from the Madison Police Department, city residents set up and monitor speed display boards on selected neighborhood streets. The boards display the street speed limit as well as the actual travel speed of passing cars.

Motorists usually slow down if they see that they are going faster than the speed limit. In some cases, police officers near the monitoring site will issue tickets to speeding motorists. After being exposed to the display boards, motorists are more likely to voluntarily comply with the speed limit.


Traffic Engineering Division staff determines the best times and locations to operate the speed display board based on traffic volume and perceived speed of travel. Volunteers establish their own schedule for monitoring traffic but they must notify the Traffic Engineering office when they plan to use the display board so that the Police Department can be apprised of monitoring times and places.

Volunteers must have a car at the project site so that the speed display board can be hooked up to the vehicle's cigarette lighter.
While monitoring the speed display board, volunteers should keep a tally of the motorists' speeds (special forms are provided for this purpose). This information is used to determine average speed and to help gauge the program's effectiveness.
Volunteers return the speed display board to the City Traffic Engineering office. Residents may borrow the equipment again if the speeding problem recurs.


City residents who are concerned they have a speeding problem in their neighborhood can request to borrow the speed display board. Before equipment is loaned out, at least three to six volunteers must be available to staff the equipment so that the board can be utilized several times over a week-long period.

Once several residents are available to monitor the speed display board, Traffic Engineering staff will provide onsite training on the proper use of the equipment.

Usually the board is loaned to volunteers for about one week at a time - but longer or shorter times can be accommodated.