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How Traffic Calming Techniques Can Improve Safety

Posted by Safety Xpress on

Traffic calming can help to significantly reduce accidents. The concept of traffic calming is fundamentally concerned with reducing the adverse impact of motor vehicles in built-up areas. It is a technique to improve safety for pedestrians and other road users. The road’s width, elevation and surface can be changed to slow down traffic or restrict access to particular areas. Apart from reducing vehicle speeds, traffic calming techniques can also reduce the traffic volume on both main roads and residential roads.

What Is Traffic Calming?

As the name suggests, traffic calming is a technique which calms down the traffic. This technique basically strikes a balance between vehicles and pedestrians on roads. It can also improve the livability of an area by making the streets more accessible to foot traffic. Traffic calming is also known to make an area environment-friendly and visually more appealing.

How Do Traffic Calming Techniques Work?

There are several ways to implement traffic calming techniques. Here are a few common strategies used:

  • Using bollards or flexible barriers
  • Adding or removing parking spaces
  • Creating road closures and one-way streets
  • Having clear safety signs and indicators
  • Planting trees to mark access
  • Installing pavements for pedestrians
  • Painting clear road markings

What Can Be Controlled By Traffic Calming Techniques?

  • Control the traffic volume and vehicle speed
  • Reduce accident rates
  • Reduce the noise levels
  • Reduce air pollution
  • Reduce fuel consumption

Where Can You Use Traffic Calming Techniques?

Traffic calming techniques can be used flexibly as required and are highly cost-effective. They can be used for:

  • Main roads
  • Residential roads
  • Private roads
  • Near schools or parks
  • Markets or retail stores
  • Parking facilities

What Are Different Traffic Calming Techniques?

It is clear now; traffic calming helps in managing road behaviour by ensuring speed limits are followed and pedestrians feel safe to walk. When implemented correctly, traffic calming techniques can increase safety and can enhance the aesthetic value of the area.

But, what are these techniques and how can they be used? Well, there are three approaches to traffic calming:

Enforcement: This is usually carried out by the traffic police who enforce the rules and regulations related to traffic.

Education: This educates people about the traffic rules and guidelines with billboards, advertisements, signs or radio ads.

Engineering: This is to design roads in such a way that vehicles are forced to naturally slow down or not go beyond a certain speed limit. It employs a combination of traffic calming techniques, like:

  • Narrowing – Roads are narrowed which tends to slow down a vehicle. This can be done by increasing the width of pedestrian walks, having more trees or planters, including a cycling path, or by adding street parking with the use of bollards.
  • Vertical Deflection – Vertical barriers are used to reduce or control the speed of vehicles. A warning is usually given with a sign and an advisory speed.
  • Horizontal Deflection - These are designed to make a driver turn the wheel and reduce their speed.
  • Restrictions - This technique is used to stop traffic from turning into certain streets or completely closing down streets to vehicle access in order to create pedestrian zones.

Vertical Traffic Calming Measures

The vertical traffic calming measures are usually most effective for reducing traffic speed as they have a physical effect on vehicles. Let’s take a look at three ways to implement this technique:

  • Speed Humps

Speed humps can reduce speed by vertically deflecting a vehicle and creating discomfort if they are travelled over at higher speeds. Speed humps are generally used between intersections, therefore, can be an effective traffic calming measure.

  • Raised Pavements

A raised pavement is similar to a speed hump, however it is wider to create an area for pedestrians to walk across and incorporates a marked pedestrian crossing.

  • Raised Intersection

A raised area where two roadways intersect. So, a vehicle has to slow down while entering or exiting this intersection.

Horizontal Traffic Calming Measures

Horizontal traffic calming measures can be used in combination with vertical measures to increase effectiveness. They can also have a physical or a psychological effect on drivers. Let’s see how:

  • Roundabout

It is a raised island located in the centre of an intersection. This technique slows down the vehicles as they need to steer clockwise around the island. Additionally, it reduces delay and angle collisions.

  • Median

A median is a raised section of roadway between opposing lanes of traffic. It slows down the speed of vehicles by reducing the width of the roadway.

  • Curb Extension/Road Narrowing

Narrowing the roads shortens pedestrian crossing distance and slows down traffic.

  • Chicane

A series of curb bump-outs alternating from one side of the street to the other. As the motorists need to steer around the bump-outs, they need to slow down; therefore, chicanes work best when they are opposed by the traffic.

Other Traffic Calming Measures

There are a few other traffic calming techniques to reduce traffic speeds, like:

  • Pavement markings can be used for traffic calming. For instance, creating lines along the edge of the road to make it appear narrower or making durable crossing markings to enhance the appearance of the.crossings
  • Using contrasting materials for crossings such as pavers or bricks at an intersection can alert the vehicles and can reduce speed.
  • Safety signs are yet another option that can create a great psychological effect on drivers. For instance, the pedestrian-ahead signs or playground-ahead signs can instantly indicate to motorists to slow down.


Traffic can be managed in a much more efficient and economical way if proper safety measures are used. If you feel your surroundings need a safety check or speed control, try using some of these effective traffic calming techniques. You can implement these techniques in your private areas, like your retail space or your warehouse.

We at Safety Xpress, encourage and promote safety in all areas. You can find good-quality safety products, like bollards, speed humps, safety signs, barriers and more on our website. You can also browse through our extensive product catalogue which demonstrates the use of all of our safety products.

Order what you need and get it delivered to your doorstep anywhere in Australia. If you wish to speak to us or have any questions regarding your safety needs, call us on 1300 049 246. 

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