Traffic Calming

To discuss possibilities of traffic calming in your area contact your Local Roads Office

Why do we use Traffic Calming

The speed and volume of traffic, particularly in residential areas, can lead to accidents.

These accidents usually affect the most vulnerable road users, in particular children, elderly people, pedestrians and cyclists.

What's more, the quality of life for residents can be adversely affected by the fear of excessive traffic speed and by concern for the safety of their families.

Traffic calming measures help to increase road safety. They have a clear, successful record of reducing crashes and casualties. And they do this by:

  • reducing speed
  • reducing the amount of traffic that is inappropriate for the road

Where can Traffic Calming be used

Traffic calming measures reduce vehicle speed but also increase delays. This means that we need to think carefully about where we use traffic calming measures.

The more severe measures (road humps, speed tables) should not generally be used on main routes. For example, where there are high flows of traffic and particularly routes that are predominantly used by the emergency services, buses and HGVs.

We have a policy that helps us use traffic calming measures appropriately and consistently across the region. The policy also helps us to use traffic calming measures in line with Department for Transport guidance.

Traffic Calming Methods

Traffic calming is the general term we use for a method of reducing speed or volume of traffic. It covers a number of measures, or combination of measures, such as:

Road Humps - These are raised sections across the road that all vehicles must pass. Road humps are constructed in a variety of shapes and sizes to cater for different locations and situations. Road humps can only be constructed on roads that have a speed limit of 30mph or less, and have street lighting.

Speed Cushions - These are raised sections of the road, similar to road humps but do not extend across the whole road width. They are designed so that larger vehicles, such as buses and fire engines, can straddle them. 

Speed Tables - These are similar to road humps but have a flat top and are longer. They are often used at junctions and sometimes as crossing points for pedestrians or cyclists.

Pinch point - This is where the width of the road is reduced where traffic can only pass through the feature in one direction at a time. (This is known as priority one-way working).

Traffic Islands - Traffic islands are situated in the middle of the road to help pedestrians cross the road, reduce vehicle speeds and prevent overtaking.

Rumble strips - Rumble strips alert the driver by means of a change in the road surface that sounds and feels different to the normal surface. They are more appropriate as a warning of a specific feature than as a speed reducing measure.

Chicanes - These are alternating built-outs in the road that interrupt the straight movement of traffic along a road and so reduce vehicle speeds.

Mini roundabouts - These painted roundabouts on the road are designed to assist motorists making turning movements at junctions, reduce vehicle speeds and to help reduce the number of accidents.

Gateways - These form visual entrances that are created to draw the driver's attention to a significant change in the road environment.

20mph zones - The Government advises that 20 mph Zones should be self-policing. Therefore, it may be necessary to install supporting traffic calming measures to ensure that speeds are kept at, or below, 20 mph.

Signs and Markings - Road signs and markings are used as a means of informing drivers, cyclists and pedestrians of changes to the road layout ahead and the existence of certain restrictions. It is quite common to have electronic part-time 20 mph speed limit signs outside schools that are activated by a time switch. It is also common to have electronic speed limit signs, or warning signs, activated by vehicles travelling at excessive speeds.