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Traffic calming

Health Factors: Community Safety Housing & Transit
Decision Makers: Community Development Professionals Local Government State Government
Evidence Rating: Scientifically Supported
Population Reach: 100% of WI's population
Impact on Disparities: No impact on disparities likely

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Description

Traffic calming measures such as speed bumps, speed humps, pedestrian refuge islands, and roundabouts strategically modify the built environment to affect traffic speed and patterns. Traffic calming measures can be implemented independently or as a component of larger efforts to improve streetscape design (US DOT-Traffic calming). Traffic calming measures are used in urban, suburban, and rural areas (Gulden 2016); in rural communities, such efforts often reduce speeds as drivers transition from high-speed roads into lower-speed zones (Hallmark 2013).

Expected Beneficial Outcomes

Reduced traffic speed
Increased pedestrian and cyclist safety
Increased active transportation
Reduced crashes

Evidence of Effectiveness

There is strong evidence that traffic calming measures increase pedestrian and cyclist safety (CG-Physical activity), reduce traffic speed, and redistribute traffic (Cochrane-Bunn 2003, Rothman 2015, Morrison 2003, Retting 2003). Traffic calming measures can also increase bicycling and walking (Winters 2010, Morrison 2004). Additional evidence is needed to determine which measures are most effective.

Traffic calming measures such as speed bumps, single-lane roundabouts, and reduced speed limit zones reduce traffic speed (Cochrane-Bunn 2003, Mountain 2005). Speed humps are particularly effective ways to reduce pedestrian-vehicle crashes that involve children (Rothman 2015). Single-lane roundabouts can reduce crashes and fatal crashes (Hu 2014, Qin 2013). Area-wide traffic calming measures have been shown to reduce traffic injuries, as well as the frequency and severity of crashes (Cochrane-Bunn 2003, Morrison 2003).

Traffic calming measures implemented with broader streetscape design efforts have been shown to reduce crashes (Retting 2003, Zegeer 2017). Pedestrian refuge islands, sidewalks, crosswalks, advanced yield signs and markings, exclusive pedestrian signal phasing (Zegeer 2017, Cochrane-Beyer 2009, Retting 2003), and increased lighting (Cochrane-Beyer 2009, Retting 2003), for example, can reduce the risk of pedestrian-vehicle crashes. Red light cameras and speed cameras have been shown to reduce casualty crashes (Cochrane-Aeron-Thomas 2005, Mountain 2005).

Single-lane roundabouts can improve traffic performance (e.g., reduce intersection delay, queue lengths, and idling), which may reduce fuel consumption and greenhouse gas emissions (Hu 2014). Midblock crosswalks enhanced with rectangular rapid flash beacons may increase the likelihood that drivers yield to pedestrians (Foster 2014a).

Costs for infrastructure improvements vary significantly both by locale and type of improvement; for example, the median cost is $1,670 for a speed bump, $10,460 for a pedestrian refuge island, and $27,190 for a traffic circle/roundabout (UNC-Bushell 2013).

Implementation

United States

Traffic calming programs are in place in urban, suburban, and rural areas around the country (US DOT-Traffic calming).

Wisconsin

Traffic calming and roundabouts are in place in many Wisconsin cities (WisDOT-Traffic calming). A 2013 study of roundabouts in Wisconsin indicates a 52% decrease in crashes resulting in injuries when roundabouts are present (Qin 2013).

Implementation Resources

ITE-Traffic calming library - Institute of Transportation Engineers (ITE). Traffic calming library. Accessed on May 19, 2017
PALTA-Traffic calming - Pennsylvania Land Trust Association (PALTA). Conservationtools.org. Traffic calming: purpose, planning & approval process, and case studies. Accessed on May 30, 2017
PFPS-Traffic calming - Project for Public Spaces (PFPS). Traffic calming 101: Toolbox outlining how to alter streets and parking, add roundabouts/traffic circles/raised medians/speed humps, and create an environment friendly to people on foot. Accessed on May 19, 2017
UNC-Bushell 2013 - Bushell MA, Poole BW, Zegeer CV, Rodriguez DA. Costs for pedestrian and bicyclist infrastructure improvements: A resource for researchers, engineers, planners, and the general public. Chapel Hill: University of North Carolina, Chapel Hill, Highway Safety Research Center; 2013. Accessed on June 16, 2017
US DOT-Traffic calming - US Department of Transportation (US DOT), Federal Highway Administration (FHWA). Safety: Traffic calming ePrimer. Accessed on May 19, 2017
WA DOT-Roundabout - Washington State Department of Transportation (WA DOT). What is a roundabout. Accessed on May 30, 2017

Citations - Description

Gulden 2016 - Gulden J, De La Garza J. Traffic calming. In: Pande A, Wolshon B, eds. Traffic Engineering Handbook. 7th ed. Hoboken, NJ: John Wiley & Sons, Inc; 2016:501-540. Accessed on May 30, 2017
Hallmark 2013 - Hallmark SL, Knickerbocker S, Hawkins NR. Center island with raised curbing for rural traffic calming. Tech Transfer Summaries. Ames, IA: Center for Transportation Research and Education, Iowa State University; 2013. Accessed on May 30, 2017
US DOT-Traffic calming - US Department of Transportation (US DOT), Federal Highway Administration (FHWA). Safety: Traffic calming ePrimer. Accessed on May 19, 2017

Citations - Evidence

CG-Physical activity - The Guide to Community Preventive Services (The Community Guide). Physical activity. Accessed on June 16, 2017
Cochrane-Aeron-Thomas 2005* - Aeron-Thomas A, Hess S. Red-light cameras for the prevention of road traffic crashes. Cochrane Database of Systematic Reviews. 2005;(2):CD003862. Accessed on June 16, 2017
Cochrane-Beyer 2009* - Beyer FR, Ker K. Street lighting for preventing road traffic injuries. Cochrane Database of Systematic Reviews. 2009;(1):CD004728. Accessed on June 16, 2017
Cochrane-Bunn 2003* - Bunn F, Collier T, Frost C, et al. Area-wide traffic calming for preventing traffic related injuries. Cochrane Database of Systematic Reviews. 2003;(1):CD003110. Accessed on June 16, 2017
Foster 2014a* - Foster N, Monsere CM, Carlos K. Evaluating driver and pedestrian behaviors at enhanced, multilane, midblock pedestrian crossings. Transportation Research Record: Journal of the Transportation Research Board. 2014;2464:59-66. Accessed on May 30, 2017
Hu 2014* - Hu W, McCartt AT, Jermakian JS, Mandavilli S. Public opinion, traffic performance, the environment, and safety after construction of double-lane roundabouts. Transportation Research Record: Journal of the Transportation Research Board. 2014;2402:47-55. Accessed on May 30, 2017
Morrison 2003* - Morrison DS, Petticrew M, Thomson H. What are the most effective ways of improving population health through transport interventions? Evidence from systematic reviews. Journal of Epidemiology and Community Health. 2003;57(5):327-33. Accessed on June 16, 2017
Morrison 2004 - Morrison DS, Thomson H, Petticrew M. Evaluation of the health effects of a neighbourhood traffic calming scheme. Journal of Epidemiology and Community Health. 2004;58(10):837-40. Accessed on June 16, 2017
Mountain 2005* - Mountain LJ, Hirst WM, Maher MJ. Are speed enforcement cameras more effective than other speed management measures? The impact of speed management schemes on 30 mph roads. Accident Analysis & Prevention. 2005;37(4):742–54. Accessed on May 19, 2017
Qin 2013 - Qin X, Bill A, Chitturi M, Noyce DA. Evaluation of roundabout safety. Transportation Research Board 92nd Annual Meeting. 2013. Accessed on May 30, 2017
Retting 2003 - Retting RA, Ferguson SA, McCartt AT. A review of evidence-based traffic engineering measures designed to reduce pedestrian-motor vehicle crashes. American Journal of Public Health. 2003;93(9):1456-63. Accessed on June 16, 2017
Rothman 2015 - Rothman L, Macpherson A, Buliung R, et al. Installation of speed humps and pedestrian-motor vehicle collisions in Toronto, Canada: A quasi-experimental study. BMC Public Health. 2015;15(1):774. Accessed on June 16, 2017
UNC-Bushell 2013 - Bushell MA, Poole BW, Zegeer CV, Rodriguez DA. Costs for pedestrian and bicyclist infrastructure improvements: A resource for researchers, engineers, planners, and the general public. Chapel Hill: University of North Carolina, Chapel Hill, Highway Safety Research Center; 2013. Accessed on June 16, 2017
Winters 2010 - Winters M, Brauer M, Setton EM, Teschke K. Built environment influences on healthy transportation choices: Bicycling versus driving. Journal of Urban Health. 2010;87(6):969–93. Accessed on June 16, 2017
Zegeer 2017 - Zegeer C, Lyon C, Srinivasan R, et al. Development of crash modification factors for uncontrolled pedestrian crossing treatments. Transportation Research Record: Journal of the Transportation Research Board. 2017;2636:1-8. Accessed on May 30, 2017

Citations - Implementation

Qin 2013 - Qin X, Bill A, Chitturi M, Noyce DA. Evaluation of roundabout safety. Transportation Research Board 92nd Annual Meeting. 2013. Accessed on May 30, 2017
US DOT-Traffic calming - US Department of Transportation (US DOT), Federal Highway Administration (FHWA). Safety: Traffic calming ePrimer. Accessed on May 19, 2017
WisDOT-Traffic calming - Wisconsin Department of Transportation (WisDOT). Traffic calming road design. Accessed on June 1, 2017

Page Last Updated

May 30, 2017

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