What is traffic calming?
- The combination of measures that reduce the negative effects of motor vehicle use, alter driver behaviour and improve conditions for non-motorized street users.
What are the benefits of traffic calming?
- Traffic calming may help to reduce vehicle speeds, the amount of non-local traffic that passes through a neighbourhood, collision severity and frequency, and the negative effects of motorized vehicles on the environment. Traffic calming measures can enhance safety for all road users.
What types of traffic calming measures are available?
1. Communication and Enforcement Solutions such as
- Information Signage (e.g. “Slow Down For Us” signs)
- Educational Campaigns
- Speed Display Devices
2. Minor Adjustment Measures such as
- Pavement Markings (e.g. on-road messaging, transverse bars, etc.)
- Vertical Centreline Treatments (e.g. flex stakes)
- On-Street Parking
3. Engineering Solutions such as
- Vertical Deflections (e.g. raised crossings, speed humps, etc.)
- Horizontal Deflections (e.g. chicanes, medians, bulb-outs, mini-roundabouts, etc.)
- Traffic Management (right-in / right-out island, vehicle diverter, etc.)
- Surface Treatments (e.g. textured crossings, textured surfaces, etc.)
- Urban Design (e.g. gateways, streetscaping)
Can’t you just install an all-way stop sign?
- Stop signs are a form of traffic control used to assign the right-of-way at intersections; they are not intended to be used as speed control devices. Studies have shown that they are ineffective for traffic calming purposes. It has been found that:
- Stop compliance is poor at unwarranted multi-way stop signs.
- The stop sign creates a false sense of safety for pedestrians because they expect the cars to stop.
- Unwarranted multi-way stop signs actually may increase speeds some distance from intersections.
Can we slow down traffic by lowering the speed limit?
- The majority of motorists drive at a speed they consider reasonable, and safe for road, traffic, and environmental conditions. Posted speed limits which are set higher or lower than dictated by roadway and traffic conditions are ignored by the majority of motorists.
- The change in posted speed limit does not produce a similar change in operating speed. Typically, changes are not sufficiently large to be of practical significance. Any changes in speed limits should be accompanied by appropriate enforcement, infrastructure and information measures. Unrealistic speed limits may increase the potential for crashes.
How can we get more police officers enforcing our street?
How can we get a new stop sign or traffic light installed?
- Residents can request a stop sign or traffic light by contacting the City of Ottawa at 3-1-1 or by emailing email@example.com. Stop signs or traffic lights may be appropriate to clarify who has the right of way at an intersection. They must conform to warrants that establish criteria that define thresholds for the use of traffic control.
How can we get red-light cameras installed?
- Residents can request a red-light camera by contacting the City of Ottawa at 3-1-1 or by e-mailing firstname.lastname@example.org. Locations for red light cameras are typically selected by City Council based on collision rates.
How do I request traffic calming on my street?
- Residents can request a Neighbourhood Traffic Calming (NTC) study on their street by contacting the City of Ottawa at 3-1-1 or by e-mailing email@example.com. Once a request is received by the City, it is screened using a Council approved qualification process. Qualified requests are then prioritized City-wide by the NTC Program to make sure staff are addressing the most severe issues first.
What can we do in the short-term?
- Residents can request “Slow Down for Us” signs or “Leave the Phone Alone” signs through the Safer Roads Ottawa program at SRO@ottawa.ca.
- Residents can contact their Ward Councillor to request temporary (seasonal) traffic calming. For example, drivers are often unaware of the speed at which they are travelling. Speed display boards installed through the TTCM Program help alert drivers to their speed, while the installation of flex-stakes on residential roads encourage lower speeds.
What is the difference between Speed Bumps, Speed Humps, Speed Tables and Speed Cushions?
- Visual description of each of these measures:
- Speed Bumps are abrupt raised areas of a roadway which cause vertical upward movement of traveling vehicles. Speed Bumps are not used on City streets but are typically found on private roadways and in parking lots.
- Speed Humps are raised areas of a roadway which cause vertical upward movement of travelling vehicles. They are generally longer than Speed Bumps and have less impact.
- Speed Tables are raised areas of a roadway which cause vertical upward movement of travelling vehicles. They are generally longer that Speed Humps and have less impact.
- Speed Cushions are raised areas, similar to speed humps, but not covering the entire width of the road. They are designed to allow large vehicles to “straddle” the cushions while smaller vehicles are vertically deflected.