Traffic calming device installation
"Traffic Calming" is the combination of mainly physical measures that reduce the negative effects of motor vehicle use, alter driver behavior and improve conditions for non-motorized street users.Developed in Europe, traffic calming is a system of design and management strategies that aim to balance traffic on streets with other uses.The tools of traffic calming take a different approach from treating the street only as a conduit for vehicles passing through at the greatest possible speed. They include techniques designed to lessen the impact of motor vehicle traffic by slowing it down, or literally “calming” it. Besides its power to improve the livability of a place, the beauty of traffic calming is that it can be applied inexpensively and flexibly.
Traffic calming has many potential applications, especially in residential neighborhoods and small commercial centers. Traffic–calming devices can be grouped within the general categories of Bumps, humps, and other raised pavement areas, Reduced street areas (where motor traffic is given priority), Street closures, Traffic diversions,Surface texture and visual devices,Parking treatments etc.
- Goal: Decrease the rate of injuries and deaths from automobile transportation
- Goal: Increase the rates of pedestrian comfort, convenient and satisfaction
- Goal: Decrease the rate of injuries and deaths from pedestrian transportation
- Goal: Decrease the rate of environmental damage from automobiles
- Goal: Protect and improve livable neighborhoods by reducing the negative effect of motor vehicles on residential neighborhoods
A residential neighborhood has been expressing concerns about speeding vehicles and heavy traffic. This is leading to excessive traffic noise, difficulties for pedestrians and bicyclists and an overall perception that the streets are not as safe as they used to be. So they submit their concerns to the city and planning/engineering division of the city conducts a field study and collect traffic speed and volume data in order to assess the severity of the problem. If any obvious safety problems are discovered the City will take immediate corrective action, part of which is installing traffic calming devices.
All traffic calming devices have both benefits and disadvantages. It's important to consider the trade offs before implementing any traffic calming strategy.
- A device that effectively slows traffic may also have a negative impact on emergency vehicle response time, or on public service vehicles such as sanitation trucks, street sweeping equipment or school buses.
- Traffic calming devices occasionally (and unintentionally) divert traffic away from the project street onto an adjacent neighborhood street, moving rather than solving the problem.
- Some devices simply can not be used on particular streets because of the physical geometry, or conditions of the roadway and the surrounding area.
- Specific neighborhood characteristics must be taken into account. Residents might want to consider how traffic calming devices might affect visual aesthetics, driveway access, parking needs, or other issues important to the neighborhood.
- Liability concerns of engineers and public entities associated with the implementation of traffic calming measures.
If answered yes, the following questions indicate superior conditions under which the policy is more likely to be appropriate:
- Is there a concern about speeding from a certain neighborhood?
- Is it a low-speed and low-volume road?
- Are the findings of a traffic assessment study on the neighborhood indicated potential safety issues?
- Is the street heavily traveled by pedestrians and bicyclists seeking access to educational or recreational facilities?
- Is it discouraging people to use public transit/bike/walk?
- Does the streets lack a wide shoulder, sidewalk, or other means of separating pedestrian and bicycle traffic from vehicular traffic?
- Is there enough funding available?
The following questions should be considered when determining how to implement this policy:
- What is the speed limit of the street?
- What is the observed speed of vehicles in this street? (through speed radar other measures over a period of time)
- What is the volume of traffic in peak and non-peak conditions?
- Is there any school/hospital/senior center on this street?
- Is there any traffic issues on the adjacent arterial leading to detour of traffic in this street?
- Are the residents in favor of traffic calming?
- Are the local business owners on this street in favor of traffic calming?
- What type of traffic calming devices the residents want?
- Does the proposed traffic calming device meets all standards, criteria and guidelines?
- Is adopting traffic calming on this street will affect the traffic flow in adjacent streets?
- Has adoption of: Common. Traffic calming devices are widely adopted throughout United States and also in other countries.
- For governance level(s): City,County,State or provincial.
- For area type(s): Suburban,Rural.
- For issue type(s): Efficiency,Equity,Safety,Infrastructure.
Notable entities who have implemented or adopted this policy include:
- City of Sparks, Nevada
- City of Delray Beach, Florida
- Town of Mooresville, North Carolina
- State of Pennsylvania
- State of South Carolina
- State of Virginia
- State of New York
- State of Delaware
- Advocates - Bicycle Safety
- Advocates - Pedestrian Safety
- Advocates - Smart Growth
- Constituent Groups - Local Residents
- Constituent Groups - Local Businesses
- Constituent Groups - Pedestrians
- Government Agencies - Transportation
- Associations - Automobile Manufacturers
- Government Agencies - Public Works Rationale: Some traffic calming devices such as speed humps creates adverse situation in winter (during snow removal). They also hinders the movement of Emergency vehicles and fire trucks.
- Traffic Calming-Speed Humps Effect, Randel R.Jaeger, Des Plaines Fire Department,Des Plaines,Illinois.
- Traffic Calming-Beware of Backlash,Ed Cline, P.E., and Jerry Dabkowski, P.E.
- Investigating the Effectiveness of Traffic Calming Strategies on Driver Behavior, Traffic Flow and Speed, Minnesota Local Roads Safety Board. 
- Effective Application of Traffic Calming Techniques,Caltrans Division of Research and Innovation, September 2011.
- The Effects of Traffic Calming Measures on Pedestrian and Motorist Behavior,FHWA REPORT NO. RD-00-104, August 2001 
- Evaluation of Neighborhood Traffic Calming Techniques in Residential Areas.Ahmed E. Aburahmah,Manatee County Government, Bradenton, FL and Ramiz Al Assar,Federal Highway Administration, Washington, DC 
- Traffic Calming Benefits, Costs and Equity Impacts,Todd Litman,Victoria Transport Policy Institute