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Motor vehicles -- Pollution -- Reduction, Air quality management, Automobiles -- Environmental aspects, Transportation -- Planning -- Portland Metro Area


There are increasing numbers of low-speed electric vehicles (LSVs) on public roadways. These vehicles are designed to be used within protected environments and on roadways with a maximum posted speed of 25 mph. Currently these vehicles are not subject to the same federal requirements for occupant protection as passenger cars. This research project investigated safety standards, operating regulations, and LSV manufacturer materials from sources around the world. The purpose of the research was to determine positive and negative impacts that LSVs, including Neighborhood Electric Vehicles (NEVs) and Medium Speed Electric Vehicles (MSEVs), are likely to have for the Oregon Department of Transportation (ODOT) and Oregon communities, and whether adjustments in current state regulations are needed to ensure that LSVs do not negatively impact road safety and traffic operations, or expose the LSV operators to undue risk. The U.S. and Canadian federal motor vehicle safety agencies have harmonized their regulations and stipulated the maximum operating speed of these vehicles, however state and local roadway authorities have regulated the maximum speed of roadways and intersection characteristics on which these vehicles can operate. The significant recommendations of this research are: (i)The State of Oregon regulations for LSVs should be amended such that LSVs are limited to public roadways with a maximum operating speed of 25 mph, and they are restricted to crossing higher speed roadways at four-way Stop or traffic controlled intersections, (ii) local transportation authorities should develop parallel or secondary low-speed transportation networks that connect residential neighborhoods with major activity centers


This is a final report, OTREC-RR-10-19, from the NITC program of TREC at Portland State University, and can be found online at:



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