Traffic Calming 101
Written by Ron Spark   

An overview is provided of the tools and techniques used to reduce traffic congestion, slow down vehicle speeds, and make streets safer for all users.

Besides its power to improve the livability of a place, traffic calming can be applied inexpensively and flexibly. The strategies outlined below in The Traffic Calming Tools can be employed creatively. These approaches include painting lines, colors and patterns; using planters, bollards (a moveable fence consisting of a series of short posts) and other removable barriers; eliminating or adding parking; or installing sidewalk extensions or similar structures with temporary materials. All provide an opportunity to test devices, combinations and locations, fine-tuning the approach according to results.

Traffic calming, along with other small-scale improvements, can enhance a place immediately, while being tested and refined to meet long-term needs. When funds are available, the right combination of devices can be transformed into permanent improvements and extended over a broader area. Regardless of what traffic-calming action is undertaken, the benefit to a community is greater when the technical improvements are strengthened by visual enhancements like trees, flowers and other amenities.

Traffic Calming Tools

Diagonal Parking
Changing One-Way Streets to Two-Way
Widening Sidewalks/Narrowing Streets and Traffic Lanes
Bulbs - Chokers - Neckdowns
Traffic Circles
Raised Medians
Tight Corner Curbs
Speed Humps, Speed Tables, and Cushions
Rumble Strips and Other Surface Treatments

Traffic calming reduces traffic problems and liabilities by literally "calming" them. Well done and well maintained projects help build human-scale places and build an environment friendly to people on foot while still effectively moving traffic.

More detail on the methods involved is available from the Traffic Calming Institute

Last Updated ( Friday, 08 May 2009 )
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