5 Traffic Calming Measures for Neighborhood Streets

5 Traffic Calming Measures for Neighborhood Streets


Traffic calming is a critical aspect of urban planning that has gained significant traction in recent years. It refers to the implementation of measures designed to control vehicular speed and improve the safety of both drivers and pedestrians in neighborhood streets. These measures have been proven to reduce the number of accidents, enhance quality of life, and promote a sense of community. This article will delve into the concept of traffic calming and examine its positive impact on neighborhood streets. In essence, traffic calming refers to a system of design and management strategies that aim to balance traffic on residential streets with other uses. It is utilized to ensure that all road users – motorists, bicyclists, and pedestrians can share the road safely. It’s not just about speed limitation but also about fostering a safer and more livable environment. The key objective is to achieve lower speeds for vehicles, thereby reducing the risk and severity of crashes. The impact of these measures on neighborhood streets is substantial. Traffic calming strategies effectually slow down vehicles, making the streets safer for residents, particularly children and elderly citizens who are more vulnerable to traffic accidents. They facilitate a safer, more comfortable environment for pedestrians and cyclists, encouraging residents to engage in outdoor activities, thus promoting a healthier and more active lifestyle. Moreover, traffic calming measures have a positive effect on the aesthetics of the neighborhood. They often include landscaping and other aesthetic enhancements that increase the appeal of the area and consequently, property values. Traffic calming measures are not only designed to ensure safety, but they also aim to improve the quality of life for residents and create a sense of community. Implementing effective traffic calming measures can greatly benefit a neighborhood. In the following sections, we will discuss a variety of traffic calming measures such as speed humps, speed bumps, speed cushions, roadway narrowings, and raised crosswalks. Each of these measures has its unique advantages and methods of installation. We will delve into the benefits of each of these measures and provide a guide on how they can be installed to ensure safer neighborhood streets. In summary, traffic calming measures play a pivotal role in creating safer, more livable neighborhoods. They are a valuable tool for communities looking to minimize traffic accidents, enhance the quality of life for residents, and increase property values. It’s an initiative that requires the involvement of the entire community, from residents to city planners, to create a safer and more peaceful living environment.

Speed Humps

Speed humps are a traffic calming measure commonly used on neighborhood streets to slow down vehicles. They are elongated, rounded traffic calming devices typically spanning the entire width of the roadway. The design, which is lower and wider than speed bumps, enables vehicles to pass over at a reduced speed without any significant discomfort. Installing speed humps has several benefits. Primarily, they reduce the speed of vehicles, reducing the risk of accidents and enhancing pedestrian safety. They can also discourage non-local traffic, or ‘cut-through’ traffic, from using neighborhood streets, thus reducing overall traffic volume. Installation of speed humps requires careful planning and consideration, ensuring they are sited on appropriate streets and at proper intervals to achieve the desired calming effect. The local community and emergency services should also be consulted before installation.

Speed Bumps

Speed bumps are essentially elevated sections of a road designed to slow down vehicles passing over them. They are typically rounded and made from durable materials like concrete or rubber, and are often found in residential areas to reduce the speed of vehicles and increase safety for pedestrians. The benefits of installing speed bumps extend beyond merely reducing traffic speed. They also provide a safer environment for children playing near the streets and for pedestrians crossing the roads. Their conspicuous presence acts as a constant reminder for drivers to obey the speed limits and drive carefully. The process of installation is relatively straightforward and can be done by a professional contractor, ensuring it is done correctly and efficiently for maximum effectiveness.

Speed Cushions

Speed cushions are a specific type of traffic calming measure that are essentially wide, flat speed bumps with spaces in between, designed to slow down vehicles while allowing larger vehicles like fire trucks and buses to pass unimpeded. They are ideal for roads that need to maintain access for emergency vehicles, as the wheelbase of such vehicles allows them to straddle the cushions without slowing down. The benefits of installing speed cushions go beyond merely slowing down traffic. They also help to reduce noise pollution, as vehicles are less likely to accelerate and decelerate abruptly. Furthermore, they improve the safety of pedestrians and cyclists by forcing vehicles to maintain a more consistent speed. Installing speed cushions typically involves placing them in strategic locations where speeding is prevalent, often in a series or pattern that further encourages a steady, moderate speed.

Roadway Narrowings

Roadway narrowings, also known as “chokers” or “neckdowns”, are strategic design alterations made to the width of a street to slow down vehicular traffic. This measure creates a visual cue to motorists that they are entering a slower speed area, thus enhancing safety within the neighborhood. The installation of roadway narrowings comes with myriad benefits. The primary advantage is the significant reduction in vehicle speed, leading to fewer collision incidents. It also improves pedestrian safety as the narrowed roads shorten the crossing distance. Integrating these modifications into neighborhood streets fosters a safer, more comfortable environment for both residents and visitors.

Raised Crosswalks

Raised crosswalks, also referred to as ‘speed tables’, are essentially flat-topped speed humps typically installed at pedestrian crossing points. They serve a dual purpose: first, they naturally slow down vehicles as they approach, similar to standard speed humps, and second, they elevate pedestrians, making them more visible to approaching drivers. Installing raised crosswalks not only promotes safe driving speeds but also enhances pedestrian safety. They are especially beneficial in residential areas and near schools, where children are often present. The installation process requires careful planning and engineering to ensure effective placement and appropriate visibility for both drivers and pedestrians. In conclusion, raised crosswalks contribute significantly to the broader goal of traffic calming measures, making our neighborhood streets safer and more comfortable for everyone.


After a comprehensive overview of the various traffic calming measures, it’s evident how instrumental they can be in transforming neighborhood streets into safer, more pedestrian-friendly zones. Speed humps, speed bumps, speed cushions, roadway narrowings, and raised crosswalks each play a crucial role in moderating vehicle speeds, enhancing safety for all road users, and creating a more peaceful environment. The benefits of implementing these traffic calming measures are manifold. They not only regulate the pace of traffic but also significantly reduce the frequency of accidents. By forcing motorists to adjust their speed, these measures ensure that neighborhood streets are safe for pedestrians, cyclists, and children at play. They compel drivers to pay closer attention to their surroundings and to exercise caution, thereby fostering a culture of responsible driving. Installing speed humps, speed bumps, and speed cushions are effective ways of enforcing speed limits without constant police surveillance. These physical interventions in the road surface serve as constant reminders for motorists to moderate their speed. Roadway narrowings and raised crosswalks, on the other hand, provide a visual signal that drivers are entering a residential area and should therefore proceed with caution. In terms of installation, these traffic calming measures are relatively straightforward to implement. Most can be installed without causing too much disruption to local residents or road users. Furthermore, in many cases, they can be designed to blend in with the neighborhood’s aesthetic, ensuring that they contribute to the overall appeal of the area, rather than detracting from it. In conclusion, these traffic calming measures are not just about reducing speed; they are about creating a safer, more comfortable environment for all inhabitants of a neighborhood. Whether it’s to provide safe crossing for school children, to prevent accidents, or to simply make neighborhood streets more pedestrian-friendly, traffic calming measures can have a profound impact on the quality of life in residential areas. Therefore, it’s necessary for town planners, local authorities, and residents to consider these measures when designing and planning neighborhood streets. Implementing these changes can help transform neighborhood streets into places where people can live, play, and move around safely and comfortably, rather than merely serving as conduits for cars. It’s not just about traffic calming, it’s about community building.