Traffic Calming in Three European Cities: Recent Experience
European experience can be useful for cities seeking to improve and expand traffic calming programs. This research summarizes recent traffic calming experience in Zurich, Vienna, and Munich. It is based on interviews with transportation professionals and literature review. It describes recent projects and draws general conclusions from these projects.
The research findings were consistent for all cities. First, traffic calming has been well integrated into the general transportation planning process. It is no longer a special case and is intended to help meet traffic reduction goals. Second, adequate funding has not been available for traffic calming. Funding shortages have forced cities to implement less costly techniques than ideal and have reduced their ability to implement more effective areawide programs. Therefore, cities are searching for less expensive ways to implement traffic calming and are linking traffic calming with other better funded programs (e.g. street resurfacing). Third, the cities are working closely with the community on implementation of traffic calming projects. They work proactively using such techniques as partnership programs, citizen involvement, and expert commissions. This process has led to compromise on the policy and project level, but has enabled the programs to progress. An example of compromise is replacing parking taken to implement traffic calming with underground parking, this is controversial and requires careful balancing of interests.
Finally, a new generation of projects including arterial street narrowing is challenging some ‘obvious’ traffic engineering ideas. Additional research is needed on these ideas.