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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: 50-99% of WI's population
Impact on Disparities: Likely to decrease disparities

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Description

Traffic calming efforts such as speed bumps and pedestrian refuge islands 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.

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 reduce traffic speed, redistribute traffic, and increase pedestrian and cyclist safety (Cochrane-Bunn 2003, Cochrane-Beyer 2009, Morrison 2003, Retting 2003, Cochrane-Aeron-Thomas 2005, Mountain 2005, Dumbaugh 2010). Traffic calming measures can also increase the number of people bicycling and walking in a community (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). Area-wide traffic calming measures have been shown to reduce traffic injuries, as well as collision frequency and severity (Cochrane-Bunn 2003, Morrison 2003).

Pedestrian refuge islands, sidewalks, crosswalks, exclusive pedestrian signal phasing, and increased lighting can reduce the risk of pedestrian-vehicle crashes (Retting 2003, Cochrane-Beyer 2009). Red light cameras and speed cameras also have been shown to reduce casualty crashes (Cochrane-Aeron-Thomas 2005, Mountain 2005). 

Area-wide traffic calming efforts can reduce relative inequalities in child pedestrian injury rates (Jones 2005). 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 areas around the country (US DOT-Traffic calming).

Wisconsin

Traffic calming and roundabouts are in place in many Wisconsin cities (WI DOT-Traffic calming).

Implementation Resources

ITE-Traffic calming library - Institute of Transportation Engineers (ITE). Traffic calming library. Accessed on March 14, 2016
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 November 18, 2015
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 December 1, 2015
US DOT-Traffic calming - US Department of Transportation (US DOT), Federal Highway Administration (FHWA). Safety: Traffic calming ePrimer. Accessed on March 3, 2017

Citations - Evidence

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 November 24, 2015
Cochrane-Beyer 2009* - Beyer FR, Ker K. Street lighting for preventing road traffic injuries. Cochrane Database of Systematic Reviews. 2009;(1):CD004728. Accessed on December 14, 2015
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 December 10, 2015
Dumbaugh 2010 - Dumbaugh E, Li W. Designing for the safety of pedestrians, cyclists, and motorists in urban environments. Journal of the American Planning Association. 2010;77(1):69–88. Accessed on December 16, 2015
Jones 2005 - Jones SJ, Lyons RA, John A, Palmer SR. Traffic calming policy can reduce inequalities in child pedestrian injuries: Database study. Injury Prevention. 2005;11(3):152–6. Accessed on February 4, 2016
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 March 3, 2016
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 March 14, 2016
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 March 1, 2016
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 May 24, 2016
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 December 1, 2015
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 November 23, 2015

Citations - Implementation

US DOT-Traffic calming - US Department of Transportation (US DOT), Federal Highway Administration (FHWA). Safety: Traffic calming ePrimer. Accessed on March 3, 2017
WI DOT-Traffic calming - Wisconsin Department of Transportation (WisDOT). Traffic calming road design. Accessed on November 18, 2015

Page Last Updated

December 4, 2013

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