Keeping Neighbourhoods Safe with “Traffic Calming”
Keeping city streets safe for everyone is an important responsibility
for the City’s Transportation Services staff. Using measures
to “calm” the traffic is one way to help do this effectively.
Traffic calming is a term used to describe a combination of mostly
physical features that are intended to improve traffic use on local
city streets, alter driver behaviour and improve safety conditions
for everyone who uses the street.
Some of the most common types of traffic calming measures are
traffic circles, raised circles in the middle of intersections
that are intended to slow the speed of vehicles as they travel
around the circle; choker, chicane or pinch points, devices that
create an impediment on the road by placing a fixed object on the
street, forcing motorists to divert around the object or slow down
on a narrower section of road; and speed humps, raised sections
of road to reduce speeds.
Traffic calming has been used successfully to reduce vehicle speeds
in residential neighbourhoods. Speed humps are one of the most
popular traffic calming measures. Studies have indicated that speeds
drop approximately 15km/h between speed humps and about 20km/h
at the hump itself.
In a given
year, the City receives between 50 - 100 requests
for speed humps, installing more than 150 per year. If your community
wants to be considered for traffic calming, there are various steps
that need to be followed in order to have the City investigate
the issue in a particular neighbourhood.
The issue must
be initiated by your City Council representative following a
public meeting, or upon receipt of a petition signed
by at least 25 per cent of affected households, or by a survey
conducted by the local Councillor. When a request for traffic calming
is received, staff reviews it to ensure that it meets the stipulated
technical and safety requirements. After City staff has reviewed
the situation, traffic calming may be installed only on streets
when the results of a formal poll indicate that a minimum 50 per
cent plus one of the affected households have responded and at
least 60 per cent of the responding households are in favour of
of Traffic Calming Policy (PDF) is
This policy document addresses background to traffic calming, warrant
criteria and additional requirements, ranking procedure, and process
and administration. Also available is the base report for the above
document, City Council's approved Traffic
Calming Policy report
the free Adobe
Acrobat reader to view PDF files.