Traffic Calming

Choosing Traffic Calming Solutions for Local Roads & Neighborhood Routes

The Neighborhood Streets Program employs three kinds of traffic calming solutions:

  • Education
  • Enforcement
  • Engineering

All of these approaches are considered when designing a traffic calming project. Traffic Engineering staff work closely with interested citizens to select the solutions that best serve the many uses of the neighborhood and the street system.

Education alerts people to ways they can help ease traffic problems - for example, by reducing their speed or traveling by bus or bicycle instead of automobile. Washington County has and is developing a variety of educational materials and activities that can be targeted to both the specific project area and the general public. Examples are the Safety Campaign, which includes lawn signs and door hangers, the Neighborhood Speed Watch Program and materials for in-school pedestrian safety.

Enforcement enlists the help of the Washington County Sheriff's Office to focus enforcement efforts and increase community awareness of speeding and other enforcement related problems. Traffic officers use traditional enforcement (issuing tickets) and both Traffic Engineering staff and the Sheriff's Office use the 'SMART' trailer (an unstaffed trailer that uses radar to monitor speeds and a reader board to show drivers how fast they are going.)

Engineering tools include a variety of traffic calming devices that can reduce speed, decrease traffic volumes, and/or improve safety. In deciding which traffic calming devices will work best for a particular street, a number of considerations must be weighed:

  • Devices can have both benefits and disadvantages. For example, a device that effectively slows traffic may also have some impact on emergency vehicle response time.  Some tradeoffs may have to be made.
  • Some devices may be generally appropriate for local streets, but cannot be used on particular streets because of traffic or physical conditions.
  • Specific neighborhood characteristics must be taken into account. Residents may want to consider how traffic devices might affect visual aesthetics, parking needs, or other issues important to the neighborhood. 

Typical Traffic Problem Remedies: