We often hear that sustainable 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.)
CITY BY CITY TRANSITIONING TO A SUSTAINABLE MOBILITY AGENDA
- Clarify and make widely known areas of the city in which traffic is being slowed
- 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
- Create a policy of Traffic Cells (restricting car movements between adjacent zones)
- Geometric redesign of roads and streets
- Reduce number of traffic lanes on wide streets
- Narrow traffic lanes
- Eliminate long straight lines/perspectives on roads or streets
- Reprocess smooth uniform surfaces that favor speeding
- Convert one-way streets to two-way (See http://goo.gl/jyElyj)
- Replace mixed traffic lanes with reserved lanes for public transport and eventually cycling
- Create protected cycling lanes
- Speed humps
- Speed tables (longer then humps)
- Painted speed humps (visual messaging)
- Pavement stripping
- Street narrowing (real)
- Visual street narrowing (Trompe-l’œil )
- Overhanging trees and utility posts
- Horizontal curvature of street
- Weaving sections
- Raised intersections
- Make crosswalks more visible
- Raised crosswalks
- Roundabouts/Traffic circles
- Chokers (narrow street by extending sidewalk or widening center strip. Also called deviations, serpentines, reversing curves, twists, and staggering)
- Reduce length of crosswalks
- Place deliberate bottlenecks that drivers are obliged to move around
- Using parked vehicles – whereon one side changing side at frequent intervals
- Speed humps, tables and other impediments (work with fire departments, police and emergency service)
Electronic measures to slow traffic:
- Add traffic lights (the old “American model” once again)
- Convert traffic lights to four-way stop signs
- Remove traffic lights (Replace with roundabouts in intersections of different strategies)
- Optimize traffic light timing (slow waves, as opposed to dominant past practices)
- Traffic cameras
- Give pedestrians head start at traffic lights
Other reforms and strategies
- Draconian law enforcement
- Very high penalties for abuse
- Create a Street Code (in case of accident driver must prove innocence, otherwise pay all legal costs and penalties if found guilty)
- Make widely known the concept of Shared Space
- Create and Protect Play Streets
- Safety in numbers
- Invite other slow speeders (cycling, pedestrians) into shared street in a visible and abundant manner
- Introduce counterflow cycling (going against main traffic flow)
- Anything that favors eye contact (low speeds but also orientation of both parties.
- “Real signage” (i.e., the “sign” is not something you read but something communicated by the architecture of the road)
- Improve road designs at bus stops
- Traffic wardens
- Children at Play signs
- Publish detailed accident statistics
- “Name and shame” in event of accident
- Slowth – the many advantages of going slow
- 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:
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: firstname.lastname@example.org) | +336 508 80787 (Also WhatApp) | Skype: newmobility.)