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New Jersey Future In Transportation

New Jersey FIT: Future In Transportation

Traffic Calming

Traffic calming is a system of road design and management approaches that balances vehicular traffic on streets with other uses. It reinforces the idea that streets should create and preserve a sense of place instead of solely facilitating vehicles passing through at the greatest allowable speed. Through design solutions, traffic calming helps lower vehicle speeds and creates an environment that is friendly to people on foot. Proper use of traffic
Speed humps and speed bumps photo
Speed humps and speed bumps force traffic to slow down.
calming principles will significantly reduce collisions (up to 40 percent reduction) and injuries for pedestrians, cyclists and motorists, as well as increasing the quality of life for citizens. Traffic calming can be applied quickly, inexpensively and flexibly. It can be accomplished just by painting lines, colors and patterns; using planters, bollards and other removable barriers; eliminating or adding parking; or installing curb extensions or similar structures with temporary materials.

supports the use of traffic calming techniques that fit the framework of the neighborhood and community. A variety of techniques can be applied to slow traffic and improve road safety:

  • Narrow traffic lanes
    Reducing the width of the road can give more room to pedestrians and cyclists and encourages cars to slow down. Conventional traffic engineering calls for lane widths of 12 to 13 feet, but new evidence shows that lanes as narrow as nine feet can still be safe for low volume roads.
  • Two-way streets
    Many communities are converting to one-way streets to two-way to reduce car speeds and shorten distances between destinations, cutting down the total amount of traffic on the road.
  • Raised crosswalks
    Raised crosswalks provide pedestrians with a level street crossing making them more visible to approaching motorists. They are a good option when pedestrian crossings occur at haphazard locations and vehicle speeds are excessive.
  • Speed humps
    Speed bumps, humps and tables force cars to slow down. They work in locations where very low speeds are desired and reasonable.
  • Center islands
    When landscaped, they can be visually attractive, as well as serve as a place of safety for pedestrians crossing the street. Center islands are good for entrances to residential areas and wide streets where pedestrians need to cross.
  • Use visual cues to influence driver actions
    Posting a speed limit does not necessarily slow down cars. Making roads and lanes more narrow with crosswalks, sidewalks, signage and close buildings act as visual cues from a driver's perspective and do slow down traffic.

Case studies:

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  Department of Transportation
  P.O. Box 600
  Trenton, NJ 08625-0600
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  Last Updated:  October 28, 2010