Safe Routes Scoop

Encouraging Active Travel
Though Engineering

appropriate for residential neighborhoods, school zones, and downtowns.


Active speed control measures force drivers to slow down through the use of vertical and horizontal obstacles and constrictions. Speed bumps, speed humps, and speed tables are examples of vertical obstacles that slow vehicular traffic by raising the roadway. These obstacles are designed for areas with high pedestrian traffic and are not permitted on roads posted over 35 miles per hour. Horizontal deflection measures slow vehicles by forcing them to maneuver around stationary obstacles, such as chicanes, full and mini-roundabouts, center island medians, and realigned intersections. Constrictions are design features that reduce speeds by narrowing the roadway. Constrictions include horizontal curb extensions or pedestrian refuge islands that limit the amount of road space vehicles can use. Active speed control measures have been most effective in residential neighborhoods, school zones, downtowns, and similar areas where reduced driving speeds are desirable.


Volume control measures can reduce or eliminate traffic altogether from neighborhoods where pedestrians are particularly vulnerable to vehicular traffic. These measures include physical diverters, which block cut-through traffic and divert it to more suitable roads. Volume control measures can include full or partial

street closures, and are most effective at approaches to intersections, mid-block crosswalks, and along streets and roads subject to speeding. Roads that have been designed to effectively and safely accommodate all users, including pedestrians, cyclists, and motorists, facilitate more predictable travel patterns. For school children, such roads provide safer, easier and more enjoyable trips to and from school. Any of the above engineering solutions can help to make a community more bicycle and pedestrian friendly, but to be deployed effectively they each require detailed knowledge and community support. While some engineering solutions can become quite involved, even the simplest measures can yield major safety improvements in local neighborhoods and school zones.
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