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FHWA Highway Safety Programs

Case Study 4: Noteworthy Speed Management Practices

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High Visibility Enforcement


  • High crash urban intersections
  • Repeated distracted driver behavior leading to avoidable crashes
  • Negative public view of enforcement actions
  • High visibility enforcement advertised in advance
  • Educational messaging with every stop
  • Constant dialogue with media and citizens
  • 27% crash reduction for two urban intersections
  • Media partnership
  • Public transparency
  • Significant educational awareness


The Oro Valley Police Department (OVPD) has created a data-driven initiative to improve traffic safety in the town of Oro Valley, Arizona. The program is called "HiVE" or High Visibility Enforcement, designed to target intersections that have high crash rates. HiVE is described as an "educational" initiative rather than a strict enforcement detail with the following two primary components:

  1. OVPD publishes HiVE's future deployment dates and times to television, print, radio, and social media. This is to alert the community about the increased visibility of law enforcement and to improve communications between the police and citizens. Partnering with local media is a key component of the HiVE.
  2. During scheduled deployments, OVPD places six motorcycle officers in and around the targeted intersections. Motorcycle officers actively enforce traffic violations during peak travel times. The graphic below shows the HiVE logo developed for communications and program identification.

OVPD reminds motorists not to engage in distracted driving or other driving behaviors that contribute to avoidable injury or fatal vehicle crashes.

The Challenge

When injury crashes reached an all-time high in Oro Valley, the Police Department held its first series of HiVE deployments for its motorcycle officers with the goal of increasing awareness and safety. At that time, two intersections, see Table 1 accounted for roughly 20 percent of all injury-related crashes so the department sought to change driving behavior by implementing the following 1:

  • Raising awareness by bringing attention to the problem
  • Having law enforcement present and highly visible to the public
  • Demonstrating intent to educate and train versus holding a punitive "ticket writing campaign"
  • Showing transparency by warning the public about deployments and publishing the police deployment actions

Photo of HiVE enforcement using motorcycles. A police officer is depicted on a motorcycle observing traffic.
HiVE enforcement using motorcycles. Image Source: ORO Valley Police

HiVE logo used for communications.
HiVE logo used for communications. Source: Oro Valley Police

Enforcement Actions

Over a 3-year period, OVPD conducted 142 HiVE deployments resulting in 4,005 traffic stops. Given the focus on education, this resulted in only 1 in 5 drivers receiving a moving violation citation. OVPD made a concerted effort to be transparent in the results of each deployment and in providing a 3-year analysis of crashes since the program began.

Key Takeaways and Lessons Learned

OVPD is working hard to show transparency to the public and to work with media outlets on the HiVE program. However, since this is a continuous program, it takes repeated efforts to ensure that messaging is consistent and that it accurately reflects the program's intent. Several lessons learned include the following:

Diligent Messaging – Do not let the media change the message. The police department has to be diligent in avoiding negative messaging such as:

  • "Oro Valley police officers working speed zones."
  • "Speed-trap at Oracle and Magee today."
  • "OVPD looking for speeders this morning."

When these messages appear OVPD works with the media outlets to make sure citizens are informed well ahead of any deployments and to stress the education components, (see example public message months in advance of deployment2).

The Oro Valley Police Department (OVPD) will be conducting its "High Visibility Enforcement" (HiVE) efforts during the months of April and May on Oracle Road and Magee. OVPD hopes to increase awareness and reduce collisions related to speed, inattention, following too close, and failing to yield to other drivers.

OVPD will deploy motorcycle officers on the following dates:

Tuesday, April 16, 2019 7:00 a.m. to 10:00 a.m.
Thursday, May 2, 2019 4:00 p.m. to 7:00 p.m.
Tuesday, May 14, 2019 7:00 a.m. to 10:00 a.m. (distracted driving deployment)
Wednesday, May 29, 2019 7:00 a.m. to 10:00 a.m.

Motorists are asked to be aware of the additional enforcement activity and drive safely. If you have any questions about this release or traffic related issues in Oro Valley, please contact (Officer Name, Phone Number).

Example public message in advance of enforcement actions.

Data Driven – OVPD conducted a study, measuring crashes before and during the HiVE program as shown in Table 1. On average, these two signalized intersections experienced 25 fewer crashes each year. A comparison of injury related crashes showed a 42 percent reduction at Oracle Road and Suffolk Drive and 15 percent reduction at Oracle Road and Magee Road.

Long Term Focus – OVPD continues to operate the HiVE program and believe that it is making a difference increasing awareness and reducing avoidable crashes related to speed, inattention, following too close, and failing to yield to other drivers.

Table 1. Crash frequency comparison before and during HiVE

Intersection Pre-HiVE (2010-2012) HiVE (2013-2015) Crash Reduction
Oracle Rd. at Suffolk Dr. 124 72 -42%
Oracle Rd. at Magee Rd. 144 123 -15%
Intersections Combined 268 195 -27%

  1. Sharp, Daniel. High Visibility Enforcement [Presentation]. Noteworthy Speed Management Practices webinar. ITE, June 13, 2019.
  2. High Visibility Enforcement (HIVE) April and May Deployments, Town of Oro Valley, 10 April 10, 2019.

Case Study 4: Noteworthy Speed Management Practices – FHWA-SA-20-080