Traffic Calming

About the Institute of Traffic Engineers

The Institute of Traffic Engineers (ITE) defines traffic calming as, “the combination of mostly physical measures that reduce the negative effects of motor vehicle use, alter driver behavior and improve conditions for non-motorized users”. In plain English, traffic calming is building or retrofitting roadways with certain features and characteristics that induce drivers to slow down and pay more attention to their surroundings.

Northampton Efforts

The City of Northampton Transportation Policies adopted in 2005 directed the Transportation and Parking Commission to develop a program for implementing traffic calming measures on our streets and roadways.

After considerable study and research, the commission developed a Draft Northampton Traffic Calming Program document for discussion and review by other city boards, elected officials, and most importantly, the public. A joint public hearing on the document was held between the commission and the Board of Public Works (which has direct jurisdiction over city streets) in 2007 to gather additional input on the proposed program.

The draft was finalized in September 2008 and following unanimous votes of adoption by both the Transportation and Parking Commission and Board of Public Works, the Traffic Calming Manual was sent to the Northampton City Council for its review and potential endorsement.

After data is collected for the area of concern and presented to the public, the Transportation and Parking Commission votes to "Recommend" or "Not Recommend" that the requested traffic calming project be placed on the City's "Priority List of Traffic Calming Projects". The applications are prioritized by the number of points awarded. The prioritization criteria is listed on page 10 of the Traffic Calming manual. The following link is a Google Doc spreadsheet showing the current priority list.

Traffic Calming Experiment Videos

A test of various traffic calming devices manufactured by Traffic Logix was conducted in the City of Northampton on May 30, 2008. The test was organized by new Department of Public Works as part of the City's ongoing efforts to implement a traffic calming program.