I was talking to someone the other day about a street where the local transport authority has data to show that the average vehicle speed is above their safe target for that particular street, so wants to put in some measures to slow the cars.
The automatic ‘tool’ for this job are “speed cushions” but there are so many other, more creative and social alternatives.
I thought I might crowdsource your favourites so I can share this with them, and maybe they can get support to do something new there too.
So, what are your favourite, and effective, street traffic calming interventions? (bonus for photos, of course)
@Ferrie I think you shared some photos here once on this - but I forget where. Is that right?
I’m also sure the @Team_Mobiel21 have ideas or experience, but I’m also keen to hear ideas from other countries, like Italy (@alessandro.sarretta ?) and Denmark (@kjeldvdh ?)
I remember reading about this idea of the 3D painted crosswalk from Iceland - and I would love to have a Telraam device to track their effect:
maybe you remembered this image - the concrete buckets that they placed - is it ugly but it works
You are right @Rob_Telraam, there are so many great examples of traffic calming measures all over the world. I can share one from Helsinki. A finnish city that was involved in the EU-project CIVITAS HANDSHAKE where also we from Mobiel 21 contributed to.
So in Helsinki they experimented with a summer street initiative. The idea behind the initiative is to create streets that encourage people to imagine what urban streets could be like if space is redistributed in a way that prioritises safety, quality and comfort for those who move by foot or by bike in the urban environment. 4 streets participated.
Here is a full article about the initiative and the bigger picture behind it: Summer streets in Helsinki – calming traffic for safer walking and cycling | CIVITAS Handshake
And here’s the beautiful furniture they used:
A very thorough and complete traffic calming approach can be found in Dutch and Flemish “woonerven” (literally “living courtyards” or “home zones”). Often, “woonerven” are smaller residential streets that were redesigned to give residents a sense of peace and quiet, while removing car traffic as much as possible without entirely banning it.
Here’s a typical example. As you see in the picture, there are several traffic calming measures within this single street: bollards, tiles instead of smooth asphalt, a raised road surface continuous with the sidewalks, and trees that act as obstacles.
It must be noted, however, that an official “woonerf” in Flanders is not just about street design. These streets are also marked by a specific road sign.
This sign conveys to drivers that the street they are about to enter is a “woonerf” and that the following rules apply:
- Pedestrians can use the full width of the public road. Playing on the road is allowed.
- Drivers may not endanger or hinder pedestrians. If necessary they must stop.
- Speed is limited to 20km/h.
- Parking is forbidden, except where there are visual markings like different surface colors, a letter P or traffic signs allowing parking.
I guess similar approaches exist in other countries…
PS: An interesting introduction into traffic calming, especially for novices
Ahhhhhh! IF ONLY! thanks @MertenDeKinderen
It would be lovely to be at that stage in the journey here in the UK and in countries like the USA, but I think there are many steps we need to take before that.
However, I think the idea of the sign would work to emphasise the shared space as opposed to just a restriction on speed for vehicles.
I like those designs @sanne.vanderstraeten - I didn’t see them in the article, so thanks for sharing. I really like the idea of more varied street furniture that doesn’t just stop traffic (like @Ferrie 's box) but actually makes the street more beautiful and resilient. The latest, of course, is turning these bits of furniture into bioswales (to capture and treat surface water) which would be great too.
I’m hoping to get some of these installed here in my area of London as well. Have you come across a design that works on a steep hill?
Not many steep hills here in belgium. And I can’t directly think about an example I saw in my European projects…
But this might be a good inspiration source, a webinar from Mobycon on the principles on traffic calming with mostly Dutch examples but also the American perspective as it was an international collaboration:
I went for a little walk in the park during my lunch break today, and suddenly realized that the road cutting through the park has three different traffic calming measures I never really paid attention to before…
I took some quick pictures. They’re quite gloomy due to the winter weather here
First, the road features a raised crossing and traffic island that slows down traffic and allows pedestrians and cyclists to get from one side of the park to the other more safely.
Then, a little further along the road, there are these typical speed cushions accompanied by two bollards.
Third, the road that crosses the park becomes more urban again and passes below a highway overpass. This area used to be one giant asphalt plain. A few months ago, dozens of bollards were installed to make the road seem narrower and to slow down traffic approaching the park road.
And, finally, when returning home, I met this little guy braving the rising temperature. Nothing to do with traffic calming, just fun to see a snowman in the wild. They’ve become quite rare in recent years
Thanks for the tour @MertenDeKinderen - who needs historic sights when we can have a bollard-and-traffic-calming tour
To be serious, it is useful and quire depressing how little of this clever experience is being used in the UK to achieve the same goals. The use of the bollards to slow traffic in particular is such a simple solution. I’ll definitely be using this in the plans I am putting forward locally
It’s simple indeed, yet quite multifunctional. As you can see in this picture, the bollards also act as a kind of protection for a cycling crossing.
PS: Make sure to follow World Bollard Association on Twitter by the way. A wonderful account to follow for any bollard fan!
Found some more simple traffic calming measures, implemented in the narrow streets of Antwerp’s city centre. This time, they’re a bit more colourful than the gloomy pictures I posted here a few weeks ago!
By the looks of it, these traffic calming measures are temporary solutions, pending a future redesign of these streets. This redesign will incorporate the “woonerf” principles, as indicated on some of the concrete barriers you see in the pictures.
More info about the “woonerf” concept: Traffic calming options for a street - #6 by MertenDeKinderen
Paint is not infrastructure… Yet, asphalt art appears to be slowing down traffic even when no other changes to the road design are made.
That’s at least what a 2022 study by Bloomberg indicates. This study was executed in some US cities, where painting on the road surface is technically not prohibited.