What is Traffic Calming Measures?
Traffic calming is a kind of speed regulating methods in which slow moving pedestrians and bicycles can co-exists with the regular vehicular traffic. It is also a kind of bringing equilibrium to the system so that no mode can dominate at the expense of other.
What is purpose of Traffic Calming?
Traffic calming measures have various purposes and are described below: (1)
The main purpose of the traffic calming measures is to reduce the speed of fast-moving vehicles thereby reducing the risk for potential crashes along the road.
Equilibrium among Various modes:
By implementing these traffic calming measures one can bring equilibrium among various modes of traffic with the reduced speeds of vehicles.
Reduced fuel consumption:
As the vehicular speed reduces for various modes and increase in bicycle trips and walking there can be significant savings in fuel content.
Reduced Noise levels and Improved air quality:
With the reduced speed of vehicles, they will generate less noise levels and over all air quality also will get improved.
Improved safety/ reduction in accidents or crashes:
Strict implementation of Traffic calming measures can lead to improved safety and reduces the no of accidents to a greater extent.
What are methods of Traffic Calming?
Traffic calming can be done in various methods based on the availability of space and geometric requirements. (2)
Traffic Calming with Rumble Strips:
Rumble strips are V-shaped or rounded grooves made to the pavement surface in order to warn the drivers so that they are well aware of the road boundaries. They are one of the safety features of the road in which they create a small vibration or rumbling effect to the driver so that accidents can be avoided.
Traffic Calming with Speed Cushions/Speed humps:
Speed humps are generally provided to reduce the incoming vehicle speeds near major conflict points and junctions. This will smoothen the traffic flow easily. Speed cushions are similar to speed humps only but have wheel cut openings for passing of large size vehicles like buses to pass easily.
Various types of speed humps can be used in practice. They are mentioned below: (3)
- Circular speed humps
- Trapezoidal speed humps
- Sinusoidal speed humps
- Combi humps
- H Humps
- S humps
Traffic Calming with chicane crossing:
These are mainly used in urban streets and by using the alternate parking spaces, curb extensions, or edge islands to form an S-shaped path of travel which reduces the speed of incoming vehicular traffic. By creating alternating mid-block curb extensions, will create extra turns for the vehicles and thus the manoeuvring speed will get reduced.
Traffic Calming Measures with Speed Tables:
They are mainly used on junctions or nodes between Arterial roads and access roads connecting them. They work in similar fashion to speed humps, but they have flat top ranges from 6-9 mts. At intersections or mid blocks if these are mixed with pedestrian crossings, they are called raised crossings.
These raised crossings are mainly used to reduce conflicts between various modes of traffic, pedestrians, and cyclists majorly at junctions, Entrances, Entry & Exit for service roads etc. to provide smooth flow of traffic.
Traffic Calming Measures with Gateway Entry:
Gateway entry simply indicates the drivers that they are now entering into a buffer zone with lower speeds. This is mainly done at major junctions, school zones, hospital areas and highly crowded places etc. This can be achieved by putting traffic signages, speed tables, speed humps, curb extensions and raised crossings etc.
Traffic Calming Measures with Mid-Block Crossing & Central Refuge Island:
Midblock crossings are generally provided between two junctions to allow the pedestrian movements at one place to avoid the fatalities. These are most frequently mixed with central refuge islands so that they can accommodate the pedestrians and they can use the marked cross walks or mid- block crossings when the signals allow them to do. (4)
Central refuge islands are generally raised islands placed in the middle of the street so that incoming traffic and the pedestrians get separated and the vehicles will get lesser road space for the manoeuvring.
For deciding the proper location for mid-block crossing some surveys should be conducted which covers details like traffic speeds, road width, desired lines for pedestrian movements and land use developments along the road. After processing all the information areas that are having high chances for pedestrian movements are most like to be provided with mid-block crossings.
Speed Limit in Traffic Calming Zone:
As per the guidelines of government of India speed limit ranges in traffic calming zones ranges about 25km/hr to 30km/hr, but it can be varied based on the specific locations and purposes that particular junction/node is serving.
Traffic Calming Measures in School Zones:
Traffic calming measures are very much important in school zones and this can be achieved by providing various safety aspects like traffic signages, road markings, pathways, signals etc and are described below. (5)
- Traffic signages: should be placed at least 200 -500 mts in advance from the school zone.
- Road markings: Road markings should be prominently provided along the approach roads to schools and clear directional signs also should be installed on the road as markings.
- High visibility crosswalk stripping: Various high visibility cross walk stripping like zebra, ladder and continental patterns should be provide, so that visibility can be increased near school zones.
- Various safety devices like road studs/ cats’ eye, retro reflective stickers should be placed near the school zones for better visibility in the night time.
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Traffic Calming Measures in Hospital Zones:
Various measures that are to be implemented in hospital zones are described below:
- Feedback signs can be provided for the drivers of the incoming traffic so that their psychological behaviour will be changed while approaching the hospital zones.
- Speed limits signs (30 km/hr- 40 km/hr) should be provided well in advance before entering the hospital zones.
- Provide various informatorily and warning sign boards which will alert the road users before reaching hospital zones.
Traffic Calming Measures in High Streets:
High streets are basically the major streets of the town or Central Business Districts (CBD). As these are always crowded with people and huge volumes of traffic, various traffic calming measures should be taken in order regularize the traffic flow and to improve the pedestrian safety. They are described below.
- Roundabouts can be installed at high volume junctions in order to reduce the conflict points and traffic signals which will in turn smoothens the traffic flow along the high streets of a CBD.
- Planting trees along the curb side of the urban streets will improve aesthetics and the drivers also can be alerted while using the busy high streets.
There are various other aspects which involves measures for traffic calming and based on the purpose and requirement they can be used at different places.
I hope the blog provides you with adequate knowledge of Traffic Calming Measures and its associated features. Please feel free to like, share and comment.
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(1) https://safety.fhwa.dot.gov/ped_bike/univcourse/pdf/swless11.pdf (2) https://globaldesigningcities.org/publication/global-street-design-guide/designing-streets-people/designing-for-motorists/traffic-calming-strategies/ (3) http://mohua.gov.in/upload/uploadfiles/files/Part_V_Traffic_Calming.pdf (4) https://michigancompletestreets.wordpress.com/2014/01/21/mid-block-pedestrian-crossings-explained/ (5) https://www.researchgate.net/publication/334173547_Traffic_Calming_In_The_Vicinity_Of_Schools
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