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Road Speeds: How to Use and Change Them

Road Speeds: How to Use and Change Them
Author: Matt Claessens and Valerie Summers, Geotab Software Developers

Posted Road Speed

Posted road speeds can be used to create custom speeding rules and generate exception reports, allowing you to take corrective actions. Road speed violations are challenging as they rely both on the fidelity of the location calculation, as well as the accuracy of the road speed data. Click here to learn more about smarter fleet management with Geotab’s posted road speed information.

Geotab provides an easy interface to allow you to enter the corrected road speed:

  • Changes by any Geotab customer are shared by all, so you benefit from the large Geotab user community.
  • Your road speed update is immediately used by your speeding rules. You don’t have to wait for OSM to audit and add it to their version.

Using Road Speeds to Examine Driver Performance

MyGeotab has posted road speed support allowing rules for drivers that exceed the posted road speed limits. Using road speeds to monitor your company’s performance is easy:

  1. Create a rule
  2. View the speeding exceptions
  3. Examine incidents more closely

Create a rule

    1. Add the rule in the rules page:

telematics geotab speed report

  1. Select Conditions > Add speed limit. You will see two options.

Speeding over: When the driver exceeds the speed limit by this amount, an exception will be created.

Exclude the estimated limits: Map providers do not have road speeds for all roads. Sometimes all they can provide is other information, such as a road type (highway, residential etc.) In this case, we can estimate the speed, based on our knowledge of the road type and regional data. For example, highways in the U.S.A. are 55 MPH, and highways in Canada are 100 km/h.

Excluding estimated posted road speed limits reduces the number of false speeding violations, but may also fail to identify speeding in locations where there is insufficient road speed data. Specifically, if a driver is driving in an area where the map providers do not have a road speed, no matter how fast he/she is driving, it will not cause a road speed exception.

telematics geotab speed report

View the Speeding Exceptions

There are several levels of granularity for viewing speeding exceptions: report summaries, per trip, and partial trip details.


The most common way to view a summary of speeding exceptions in the default exceptions report or a customized report. Individual exceptions can be viewed on the map.

Per Trip Speeding details

In the trips history report these speeding exceptions are shown overlaying the trip path. Mouse-over each exception point will show the vehicle’s speed and also the speed limit of the road pointed at.

Caution: The speed shown on the map may not be the speed limit used to process the exception. This is because it is possible that you will be pointing your mouse at a nearby road, or an intersecting road, which is not the best fit road path for the trip.

telematics geotab speed report

Examine Incidents More Closely

A much more accurate way to view and compare the driver’s speed to the speed limit is using the speed profile report. From the trips history report, this is available from the dropdown for each trip. This enables the user to visually compare the speed of the vehicle to the speed limit. If you mouse-over the different points on the speed profile graph it shows more data, including the date, time, driver’s speed, and the speed limit. You can zoom to smaller time ranges for even more detail.

From the speed profile, you can determine the exact time at which the driver exceeded the speed limit. The triangular controllers on the timeline can be moved in, which will provide a higher fidelity image of a smaller time range.

telematics geotab speed report

Correcting the Road Segment

Updating the speed limit is simple, just left click on the road where the road speed is incorrect.

telematics geotab speed report

telematics geotab speed report
If the road segment, highlighted in red, is not the correct length, is in the wrong position, or it does not exist you might need to fix that before you can correct the road speed.

To adjust the shape, length, or positioning of the road: Go to http://www.openstreetmap.org/ make an account and find the road you would like to edit. The 3 important road attributes are the Speed Limit, Name, and Road Type. Add those details if you know what they are. You can also reshape the existing roads, or even draw new ones in. OSM is an open source resource and it works like Wikipedia in terms of editing. Everyone benefits from the data you provide.

Unlike the road speed updates from within our application, there is a time delay when updating via OSM directly. Changes from OSM are updated into Geotab’s system monthly.

telematics geotab speed report


To further help improve the OSM data please check out MapRoulette. It is a challenging and fun way to get involved in the mapping community. You will be provided a challenge to complete. For example, a possible missing road challenge, where it is your job to either fix the problem or dismiss it. You are not only improving the data for your own company, but for all others using OSM, and at the same time reaping the benefits of their contributions!

Click here to learn about the future of mapping with OSM or ask questions in the comment box below.


  • Posted October 16, 2018 at 9:13 am | Permalink

    What is your validation process for user inputted road speed values directly into the Geotab database? In other words if someone changes a road speed to something incorrect it will be reflected in all client database immediately. How do you ensure that the data inputted by users is correct? and who changes it if it is not?

    • Posted October 19, 2018 at 1:25 pm | Permalink

      The user inputted road speed values are a community driven data set. Similar to other community driven data sets such as Wikipedia or OpenStreetMaps, if a value is incorrect it will be corrected by other contributors who are using the data. There is an immediate evaluation to make sure the inputted value is reasonable. However, there is no measure to check if that value is the actual posted value, we rely on the community to justify that.

  • Posted March 12, 2015 at 12:09 pm | Permalink

    How does Geotab detect speed? Is it by GPS tracking or is it through vehicle diagnostics/transmission or wheel sensors?

    • Posted March 12, 2015 at 3:18 pm | Permalink

      Hi, We get the speed from both GPS and the engine computer.

      • Posted August 27, 2017 at 2:40 pm | Permalink

        When the vehicle speedometer is off by 4 mph what determines speeding , the gps or vehicle computer

        • Posted October 24, 2017 at 9:47 am | Permalink

          Thank you for your question. We will use GPS speed if the GPS data is valid. If we do not have valid GPS data, then we will use engine based road speed.

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