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Traffic Calming

SRTS Toolkit





Traffic calming typically refers to using engineering measures to change driver behavior and compel drivers to slow down, but can also include traffic education and enforcement.  Traffic calming, when used in conjunction with complete streets policies, is a relatively low-cost way to reduce vehicle speeds and improve pedestrian and bicycle safety.

Examples of traffic calming treatments include speed bumps, traffic circles and signage. In school zones, the color yellow is used to indicate to drivers to slow down.

Traffic calming has been used extensively in low-speed urban areas in the United States, but less so in rural areas where traffic characteristics and expectations are different. In Europe, rural communities effectively use colored pavement, physical lane narrowing, signage and landscape to slow traffic through the community.
Consider getting school children involved in planning around their school. The City of Tacoma partnered with McCarver Elementary School to get children’s input on, and vision for, their community.  Planners offered design charrettes to grade school classes and the students’s drawings illustrate “35 Ways to Safer Neighborhood Streets,” a neighborhood and traffic calming primer by the City.  Read more about the collaborative project and download the guide. 

Goleta was the first California city to pass a traffic calming measure for school zones. In December 2007, Goleta passed a resolution(PDF) in accordance with California Assembly Bill 321 (a bill aimed at reducing speed school zones) allowing for speed reductions around schools. The city resolved that the speed limit on identified roads surrounding schools be reduced to 15 miles per hour.


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