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October 19 2012

What is traffic calming?

 

Traffic calming to protect the neighbourhood

 

Traffic calming is a term we here almost everyday in the news or in papers, but where did it come from? How is it enforced? and what are the best practices?

 

What is Traffic Calming?

The term ‘Traffic calming’ actually comes from the German word ‘Verkehrsberuhigung’ and was first used in it’s English translation in 1985. The idea behind traffic calming is to limit or slow vehicle traffic in order to improve both driving and living conditions.

For full specifications and complete details visit our traffic calming products page.

 

History

Traffic calming can be seen across the globe in one form or another but the original idea and early development of traffic calming began in the UK in the 1930’s. This early form of traffic calming aimed at reducing the number of vehicles entering residential areas and reducing noise

Traffic sign for traffic calming

Traffic calming as we know it however started in Europe during the late 1960’s and was developed not only to reduce through traffic and noise but also to make streets safer for children, pedestrians and cyclists.

The first instance of using physical obstructions to calm traffic actually started after residents in the Dutch city of Delft became frustrated with the amount of traffic passing through their town. The residents gathered up old furniture and made an obstacle course through their village to promote slower, safer driving.

Traffic calming to stop aggressive driving

This idea was later adopted by the government over a decade later in 1976 and by the 1990’s cites across the world had begun their own programs.

 

Early initiatives

Earlier attempts at creating calmer roads and safer street concentrated on adding physical obstacles to streets to force drivers to slow their speed and avoid a collision.

road narrowing traffic calming

Some ways in which obstacles were used include;

While these physical obstructions do provide a slowing effect on traffic, they also tended to disrupt traffic of residents living near by to the point they have sometimes become an inconvenience, annoyance and even a danger!

 

unforeseen side effects

While early measures did in fact slow traffic in residential areas, these obstructive methods also created inconvenience and dangers.

One of the key problems with measures such as road narrowing or the use of chicanes is that large emergency vehicles such as fire engines and ambulances found them hard and time consuming to navigate, which in some cases has turned in to human causality or and even fatalities!

Speed cushion don't disturb the big emergency vehicles conduct

Other dangers caused by physical obstructions is that they could create ‘blind spots’ where drivers and pedestrians aren’t able to see one another, and they also force cyclists and motor bike riders out in to the middle of the road toward larger motor vehicles.

  

further developments

Traffic calming methods continued to change and develop with new improved ways to slow traffic emerging. The most popular to emerge during the development of traffic calming were traffic speed tables, speed humps and speed bumps.

A car riding over a speed bump for traffic calming

These new solutions solved many, but not all, of the problems caused by the more obstructive type of traffic calming however they also brought new additional problems.

Concrete and tarmac speed tables, humps and bumps required constant maintains and repair meaning more cost to local authorities in addition the maintained involved in the upkeep also meant more traffic congestion during road works.

Broken concrete yellow speed bumps

These full length bumps and humps also proved to be impossible to install along roads with utility cables and pipes running beneath as the shock caused by vehicles passing over them resulted in broken water pipes and disrupted services.

Sports car stuck on speed bump with difficulties

Roads and utilities were not the only casualties though as some motorists also claimed that these large, often poorly constructed, traffic calming measures often damaged the underside of vehicles, particularly expensive sports cars.

In addition to the above problems, large permanent traffic humps have also proven to be easily damaged by snow plows, but more impertinently don’t solve the problem with emergency service vehicles not being able to pass when on call.

 

Modern traffic calming measures

It is now thought that we have reached the pinnacle of traffic calming equipment.

Rubber speed tables offering the best solution for traffic calming

Rubber speed cushions are a no compromise solution to slowing traffic. They offer all the benefits of the more traditional solutions but with none of the drawbacks which they present.

Most importantly rubber traffic cushions are able to slow cars while not slowing down larger emergency vehicles.

They can achieve this by measuring just wide enough that a regular car must drive over them, but narrow enough to allow fire trucks and ambulances to straddle them.

Other advantages of rubber speed cushions include:

Not only do rubber speed cushions solve all of the problems associated with solutions tried in the past, but they also offer some other advantages which further make them more suitable than other traffic solutions.  

 

At Sino Concept, we manufacture our rubber speed cushions from a mixture of recycled rubber and pure rubber which we import from South Korea.

The recycled portion of rubber is made of old car tires which helps to reduce the amount of waste found in tyre dumps around the world and is used for the main structure of the speed cushions.

Speed cushions help to reduce waste

The top layer of our rubber speed cushions is made from high quality pure rubber which improves traction and wet weather performance.  

Thanks to the modular construction of our rubber speed cushions it is very easy for us to pack them as a single unit each in their own individual wooden crate.

This means that transportation and stocking our rubber speed cushions is simple and convenient.

how to install a rubber speed cushion

Another advantage of our modular design is that each speed cushion can be easily installed with minimal tools by very few engineers in just a few short hours!

What’s more thanks to the factory fitted glass road-studs and reflective tape rubber speed cushions are ready for use as soon as installation is complete.  

 

Sino Concept Rubber Speed Cushion Specialists!

Sino Concept are a French owned and operated manufacture of rubber speed cushions based in China.

For more information about out range of rubber traffic calming speed cushions please feel free to contact us now via our contact form here and we will be in contact as soon as possible.

For have more information, please visit our Speed Cushion pages.

 

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