A COMPENDIUM OF BETTER, FASTER, CHEAPER MEASURES your city could start to implement tomorrow morning to SAVE THE PLANET . . . cut GHG emissions, get people to work on time, reduce traffic accidents, save lives, clear the air, improve health, strengthen the economy, and improve accessability, mobility and quality of life for all.

Climate Audit - Paris smog EB blue shirt

We often hear that transportation reform  is going to require massive public investments, large construction projects, elaborate technology deployments, and above all and by their very nature are going to take a long time before yielding significant results. This is quite simply not true. This approach, common in the last century and often associated with the “American transportation model”, no longer has its place in a competitive, efficient, democratic city  And we can start tomorrow, if we chose to.

To get a feel for this transformative learning reality let’s start with a quick look at a first lot of ideas for Slow Street Architecture as a major means for reducing traffic related nuisances, accident prevention and improving quality of life for all.  These approaches are not just “nice ideas”.  They have proven their merit and effectiveness in hundreds of cities around the world. There is no good reason that they cannot do the same in your city. Starting tomorrow morning.

(For further background on external sources feeding this listing, see Sources and Clues section below.)


  1. Clarify and make widely known areas of the city in which traffic is being slowed
  2. Clear Entry Zone indications to slow speed in designated areas – not just signs but also innovative street architecture at entry points which clearly get the message through to the entering motorist
  3. Create a policy of Traffic Cells (restricting car movements between adjacent zones)
  4. Geometric redesign of roads and streets
  5. Reduce number of traffic lanes on wide streets
  6. Narrow traffic lanes
  7. Eliminate long straight lines/perspectives on roads or streets
  8. Reprocess smooth uniform surfaces that favor speeding
  9. Convert one-way streets to two-way (See http://goo.gl/jyElyj)
  10. Replace mixed traffic lanes with reserved lanes for public transport and eventually cycling
  11. Create protected cycling lanes
  12. Speed humps
  13. Speed tables (longer then humps)
  14. Painted speed humps (visual messaging)
  15. Pavement stripping
  16. Street narrowing (real)
  17. Visual street narrowing (Trompe-l’œil )
  18. Overhanging trees and utility posts
  19. Horizontal curvature of street
  20. Weaving sections
  21. Raised intersections
  22. Make crosswalks more visible
  23. Raised crosswalks
  24. Roundabouts/Traffic circles
  25. Chokers (narrow street by extending sidewalk or widening center strip. Also called deviations, serpentines, reversing curves, twists, and staggering)
  26. Reduce length of crosswalks
  27. Place deliberate bottlenecks that drivers are obliged to move around
  28. Using parked vehicles – whereon one side changing side at frequent intervals
  29. Speed humps, tables and other impediments (work with fire departments, police and emergency service)

FB SC - 70 KPH vision

Electronic measures to slow traffic:

  1. Add traffic lights (the old “American model” once again)
  2. Convert traffic lights to four-way stop signs
  3. Remove traffic lights (Replace with roundabouts in intersections of different strategies)
  4. Optimize traffic light timing (slow waves, as opposed to dominant past practices)
  5. Traffic cameras
  6. Give pedestrians head start at traffic lights

Other reforms and strategies

  1. Draconian law enforcement
  2. Very high penalties for abuse
  3. Create a Street Code (in case of accident driver must prove innocence, otherwise pay all legal costs and penalties if found guilty)
  4. Make widely known the concept of Shared Space
  5. Create and Protect Play Streets
  6. Safety in numbers
  7. Invite other slow speeders (cycling, pedestrians) into shared street in a visible and abundant manner
  8. Introduce counterflow cycling (going against main traffic flow)
  9. Anything that favors eye contact (low speeds but also orientation of both parties.
  10. “Real signage” (i.e., the “sign” is not something you read but something communicated by the architecture of the road)
  11. Improve road designs at bus stops
  12. Traffic wardens
  13. Children at Play signs
  14. Publish detailed accident statistics
  15. “Name and shame” in event of accident
  16. Slowth – the many advantages of going slow
  17. Expand participation and leadership role of public health experts

That gives us one for each week of the year. Time to get started.

Active Time/Travel Management Strategies (oops)

And with all this we have not yet started here to dig into the rich bouquet of time management strategies that allow the city to shift demand away from peak travel times. Developing coordinated strategies to work with employers, schools, and other institutions  to vary opening and closing times, including tools like flexi-time schedules and coordination with hours for deliveries and freight.  Etc.

All these tools strategies are well identified in the literature, and there is no doubt that any so-called “master plan” that does not from the outset take fullest advantage of  this rich and effective tool box is a farce. In the event that such plans favor and concentrate on constructing new roads, bringing in new technologies without first having done as much as they can with TDM.

Sources and clues:

This simple listing is just a first step.  But you do not have to look far for solid sources to help you deepen your strategy. There are a huge number of them, but (a) a tour of the US Institute of Transportation Engineers Traffic Calming Library (www.ite.org/traffic/), along with (b) a recent article just in from Partners for Public Spaces by Jay Walljasper entitled  “How to Restore Walking as a Way of Life”, and the TDM Encyclopedia of the Victoria Transport Policy Institute, Traffic Calming at  http://www.vtpi.org/tdm/tdm4.htmand you are off to a strong start.

Beyond that you have  at your finger tips solid Wikipedia entries  at  https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Transportation_demand_management  and  https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Traffic_calming. And if all that is not enough you can pick your way through the two million-plus references on traffic calming that are generated by a Google search.

The industrious researcher will have no problem filling out this first list, and finding solid sources to backstop the projects.

# # #

About the editor:

Eric Britton
13, rue Pasteur. Courbevoie 92400 France

Bio: Founding editor of World Streets (1988), Eric Britton is an American political scientist, teacher, occasional consultant, and sustainability activist who has observed, learned, taught and worked on missions and advisory assignments on all continents. In the autumn of 2019, he committed his remaining life work to the challenges of aggressively countering climate change and specifically greenhouse gas emissions emanating from the mobility sector. He is not worried about running out of work. Further background and updates: @ericbritton | http://bit.ly/2Ti8LsX | #fekbritton | https://twitter.com/ericbritton | and | https://www.linkedin.com/in/ericbritton/ Contact: climate@newmobility.org) | +336 508 80787 (Also WhatApp) | Skype: newmobility.)

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