Traffic Calming is intended to slow motor vehicles to appropriate speeds, increase safety for people walking, cycling, and rolling and improve the quality of life for residents on neighbourhood streets. The installation of Traffic Calming measures is based on the foundational idea that neighbourhood streets should help create and preserve a sense of place: their purpose is for people to walk, roll, play, shop and even work alongside motor vehicles – not be dominated by them. 

The City’s Traffic Calming Policy enables the installation of Traffic Calming measures – speed humps and cushions on local and collector roadways and speed bumps in laneways. 

Traffic Calming is defined as mid-block, vertical deflections: namely, speed humps or speed cushions on local and collector roadways and speed bumps in laneways. While speed humps, cushions and bumps are similar tools, their use varies by type of roadway and type of vehicle they need to accommodate:  

  • Speed humps are raised mounds of asphalt installed across the full width of a roadway. They are tapered towards the gutter to not impede storm water drainage. Speeds humps are designed and placed at intervals along a roadway segment to encourage a consistent 30 km/h travel speed – motorists traveling at speeds greater than 30 km/h will experience discomfort when going over a speed hump. Speed humps can be installed on local and collector roadways that receive winter maintenance.  
  • Speed cushions are similar to speed humps, but they provide wheel cut-outs for larger vehicles such as buses and emergency vehicles to travel over them, minimizing the vertical deflection. Due to their design, speed cushions have a slightly higher design speed than speed humps but enable the application of Traffic Calming measures where they may otherwise be infeasible, such as along a neighbourhood TTC route.  Speed cushions can be installed on local and collector roadways that receive winter maintenance.  
  • Speed bumps are considerably shorter than speed humps and are found in very low-speed environments, such as laneways. Speed bumps encourage drivers to cross at no more than 10-15 km/h. Speed bumps can only be installed in laneways that do not receive snow plowing – only salting – as they are not designed to be traversed by plowing equipment.  

Construction specifications and standard drawings for Traffic Calming measures can be found on the City of Toronto website. 

The Traffic Calming process includes six steps:  

  1. Identification of a requested location; 
  2. Evaluation confirming the location is eligible for and warrants the installation of traffic calming measures;   
  3. Scoring to prioritize delivery of approved traffic calming measures based on those with the highest need and/or risk; 
  4. Detailed design & approval by the local Councillor, Emergency Services, and TTC, if applicable;  
  5. Reporting to and approval of a road alteration by-law by Community Council; and  
  6. Installation.  

 

Traffic Calming Process flowchart

Community requests for Traffic Calming (speed humps, speed cushions and speed bumps) are initiated by the local Councillor who also prioritizes requests across their Ward. Residents are encouraged to contact their Councillor to get initial support for the traffic calming they are recommending. It is up to individual Councillors to determine how they will collect requests for Traffic Calming from residents in their Ward and if any evidence of support is needed before sending the request to Transportation Services for evaluation.   

To begin a Traffic Calming evaluation, contact the office of your local Councillor to discuss the options available in your neighbourhood. 

Transportation Services staff may also proactively identify locations for Traffic Calming (speed humps and speed cushions only) through various programs or to be bundled with capital works. Staff will liaise with the local Councillor to gauge support, and supported locations will move through the remaining five steps for evaluation and approval.  

At its meeting on October 25, 2023, Infrastructure and Environment Committee considered the 2023 Traffic Calming Policy, which was adopted under item 2023.IE7.4.

City Council adopted the 2023 Traffic Calming Policy, as detailed in Attachment 2 of the Transportation Services report (October 12, 2023) from the General Manager, Transportation Services on November 8 and 9, 2023.  

The 2023 Traffic Calming Policy went into effect upon approval by Council and applies to Community Council reports beginning in January 2024.