In everyday use and in kinematics, the speed of an object is the magnitude of its velocity (the rate of change of its position); it is thus a scalar quantity.The average speed of an object in an interval of time is the distance travelled by the object divided by the duration of the interval;the instantaneous speed is the limit of the average speed as the duration of the time interval approaches zero.

Like velocity, speed has the dimensions of a length divided by a time; the SI unit of speed is the metre per second, but the most usual unit of speed in everyday usage is the kilometre per hour or, in the US and the UK, miles per hour. For air and marine travel the knot is commonly used.

In the special case where the velocity is constant (that is, constant speed in a straight line), this can be simplified to v = s/t. The average speed over a finite time interval is the total distance travelled divided by the time duration.

Related formulas


uspeed (magnitude of object's velocity) (m/s)
dsdistance traveled (rate of change of position) (m)
dttime (s)