Traffic Calming

Traffic calming is applied to local streets with the aim of lowering traffic speeds and volumes, and sometimes, preventing particular types of vehicle travelling through an area. These aims are achieved by treating an area rather than a single section of road.

Traffic calming treatments cause drivers to change their driving pattern. Usually they have to reduce their speed but sometimes drivers are exposed to something undesirable (e.g. rumbling, or delays) which encourages them to choose a different route.

There is a wide range of traffic calming treatments available. These include

roundabouts, kerb build-outs, speed humps, raised tables, entry treatments, speed cushions, modified intersections and many others. Some of these treatments are described under the Speed Management treatment page.

Importantly, drivers should not have to be taught about traffic calming devices in order for them to be effective. They should be self explaining and self-enforcing.

  • Reduced speeds and reduced crash severity.
  • Reduced traffic volumes on local roads.
  • An improved environment for pedestrians and cyclists.
  • Some local traffic problems should be referred to the Police in the first instance, for example racing or speeding.
  • There is occasionally negative public feedback that traffic calming devices inconvenience local drivers, create noise, do not cater for bicycles or hinder emergency and other heavy vehicles.
  • Traffic calming schemes can be costly and take much time to design and implement successfully (requiring community consultation plus detailed traffic and crash data collection and analysis).
  • Isolated traffic calming devices can be a traffic hazard.

Benefits

  • Reduced speeds and reduced crash severity.
  • Reduced traffic volumes on local roads.
  • An improved environment for pedestrians and cyclists.

Implementation issues

  • Some local traffic problems should be referred to the Police in the first instance, for example racing or speeding.
  • There is occasionally negative public feedback that traffic calming devices inconvenience local drivers, create noise, do not cater for bicycles or hinder emergency and other heavy vehicles.
  • Traffic calming schemes can be costly and take much time to design and implement successfully (requiring community consultation plus detailed traffic and crash data collection and analysis).
  • Isolated traffic calming devices can be a traffic hazard.

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Treatment Summary

Costs
Medium to high
Treatment life
10 years - 20 years
Effectiveness
25-40%

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