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Speed limits: About our test

Marketplace designed a highway speed test in consultation with a traffic engineer using Ontario Ministry of Transportation methods. Data was collected by Ontario Traffic Inc, a company which often collects data for engineers and government. Three locations were selected on the Macdonald-Cartier Freeway, commonly known as the 401. This is the busiest highway in North America.

Speed data was collected from Tuesday, September 1 through Thursday, September 3, 2015. The monitoring equipment collected vehicle speeds the nearest kilometer per hour and stored the data in 5 kph bins for analysis. Statistics generated include vehicle volume and 85 percentile speed for each day and for each hour of the day. The 85 percentile is the speed that 85 per cent of drivers are travelling at or below. This is one of the tools often used by engineers and governments to evaluate speed limits.

While data was initially collected in both directions at three locations, due to a combination of construction and unforeseen technical issues, proper data was able to be analysed in the eastbound direction at two highway locations, west of Liberty street, near Bowmanville, and west of Harmony Rd, near Oshawa.

The final data reflects normal driving conditions and includes congestion but in the analysis major traffic accidents were eliminated. Hundreds of thousands of cars passed by these two locations and the results show that at the 85 percentile ranged between 113km/h and 126km/h.