The Neighbourhood Traffic Calming (NTC) Program focuses on addressing requests for permanent, engineered, traffic calming on existing local and collector streets within neighbourhoods. This Program is reserved for streets that cannot benefit from roadway modifications through other City Programs.
Permanent traffic calming can be challenging to implement due to competing interests, limited resources, and the need to be smart, fair, and transparent when deploying City resources. Given the following considerations:
- The City’s Transportation Master Plan policies support reducing negative impacts of motor traffic
- More requests for permanent traffic calming are received than there are adequate resources to address all of them
- There are insufficient resources to reconstruct every street to address these concerns
- Not all concerns require a full re-build of a street to address
- There are competing interests that need to be considered (e.g. efficient transit operations vs. desire for slow vehicular speeds)
The NTC Program has developed a process for managing requests for permanent engineered traffic calming in a fair and consistent manner. This involves both qualification and city-wide prioritization of all requests. The process prioritizes resources based on addressing the most severe problems first.
In alignment with the City’s road safety and complete streets objectives, the NTC Program will focus resources primarily on addressing concerns related to vehicular speeding; traffic volume concerns may be addressed provided that vehicular speeding is also evident.
Requests that have qualified for consideration of engineered traffic calming measures through the NTC Program will first be the subject of a Neighbourhood Traffic Calming Study. The study is necessary to evaluate technical solutions and build community consensus for a recommended traffic calming plan. Implementation of approved traffic calming plans within the NTC Program will generally proceed on a ‘first in-first out’ basis within the available annual Program funding envelopes.
A summary of the NTC Study Process is provided below and a complete description of the NTC Study Process can be found here.
NTC Study Process Summary
Requests that have qualified for consideration of engineered traffic calming measures will first be the subject of a Neighbourhood Traffic Calming study, which allow communities to accomplish the following:
- Understand competing interests – There are many competing interests within communities with respect to how streets should function. These studies are a good opportunity for communities to gain an understanding of those interests.
- Build Consensus on a Solution – A NTC study provides opportunities for community participation and consensus building around defining current problems, identifying potential solutions and selecting the preferred solutions.
There are three phases of the NTC Study Process: Pre-Study, Study, and Implementation. The time a project takes varies greatly depending on resources and levels of public participation. In general, a qualified request that is a top priority may potentially take anywhere from 2.5 to 4 years to complete the whole process (from planning to construction), as outlined below:
- Identify request's chief concern
- Screen request
- Prioritize request
- Determine community support and confirm concerns
- Preliminary investigation
- Develop a traffic calming plan
- Confirm funding
- Design and construction
- Monitoring and evaluation
Requests for permanent engineered traffic calming on local and collector streets within neighbourhoods are first screened using a Council-approved qualification process. The purpose of qualifying a request is to make sure that the City screens in a manageable list of requests with respect to available resources. It is not intended to imply that unqualified requests do not merit traffic calming (see below – Requests that do not qualify).
The resources required to identify traffic calming concerns can vary significantly depending on the nature of these concerns. The NTC Study Process groups simple and more complicated study requirements into two separate buckets:
- Local Traffic Calming (LTC) Studies – focus on addressing concerns related to speeding on a specific street.
- Neighbourhood Traffic Management (NTM) Studies – address concerns related to vehicular speeding and/or through traffic within a defined study area (beyond a specific street).
NTM Studies are more complex and often require significant resources and time to address.
Qualified requests are then prioritized city-wide to make sure the City is addressing the most severe issues first. Prioritization (i.e. ranking) considers a total score applied to each qualified request, reviewing and assigning points for criteria related to the user environment and street purpose, active transportation facilities provided, traffic behaviour and impact, and equity and reach.
Studies for the highest-ranking requests on the list are initiated, as resources permit. The first step would be to determine community support for the study and confirm concerns. A preliminary investigation would be initiated, which could include reviewing results of any previous projects to address problems, available road user data (e.g. speeds and volumes), context information, and collecting any additional data as required. After this, a traffic calming plan would be developed in consultation with all stakeholders, including the local community, prior to recommending a final plan for approval.
The implementation of all approved traffic calming plans within the NTC Program will generally proceed on a ‘first in-first out’ basis within the available annual Program funding envelopes. Once funding is confirmed, the project is submitted to the City’s Infrastructure Services group for design and construction.
The timing of implementation will depend on the complexities of the work and scheduling considerations. Typically, the preliminary and detailed design activities would be completed within one year, with the construction proceeding the following year during the spring through fall construction season. In some cases, implementation of approved plans may be coordinated with planned road reconstruction schedules to take advantage of cost efficiencies.
Following implementation, the City will determine potential monitoring and evaluation requirements and consider adjustments as necessary. Once the evaluation has been conducted, the project will be considered complete. Any new request in the same area is to be reviewed and submitted in accordance with the NTC Study Process. Measures will only be reviewed outside this timetable if there is evidence of safety issues associated with their installation.
Requests that do not qualify
The NTC Program is reserved for local and collector streets within neighbourhoods that do not benefit from planned road modifications from other programs. The qualification process for this Program is required to manage limited resources and should not be viewed as a “warrant” for traffic calming measures. This means that not all requests will qualify, even if traffic calming could be of benefit to address community concerns.
For requests that do not qualify, there are other options such as potentially including measures as part of street reconstruction projects. In addition, there may be opportunities through the Temporary Traffic Calming Measures (TTCM) Program, which could consider use of seasonal or temporary traffic calming measures.
If the above options have been explored but are not available, a request can be re-submitted to the City 3 years following the original submission, at which time, potential changes in environmental characteristics may yield different results in the request qualification and/or prioritization process.