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Traffic Calming

Back lane with a speed bump

In Surrey there are several types of traffic calming devices that can be installed to slow down traffic on local roads and around schools.

Speed humps, speed tables, raised intersections, raised crossings, and traffic circles are some of the devices we use.

Read about the advantages and disadvantages of each, and then find out if your neighbourhood is eligible for traffic calming.

Types of Traffic Calming Devices

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  • Speed Humps expand
  • Speed Humps

    Speed humps are used to slow drivers down on local roads and back lanes. A speed hump is not the same as a speed bump:

    • Speed humps are wider, put in local roads, and slow drivers to around 30 to 35 km/h to drive over them.
    • Speed bumps are narrower, put in parking lots, and slow drivers to a near stop to drive over them.

    Speed bumps are 3 inches high and 4 metres (13 feet) long. They're most effective when they are spaced 125 to 225 metres apart on local roads, and 60 to 100 metres apart on lanes.

    Funding for speed humps

    Funding for speed humps comes from Surrey's traffic calming program. Speed humps cost around $2,000 to $3,000 each to install.

    Advantages of speed humps

    • Reduce overall speeds, including the number of drivers going faster than the limit
    • Cost efficiency allows for incorporation into most projects
    • Cyclists can safely cycle over speed humps
    • Don't affect on-street parking

    Disadvantages of speed humps

    • Drivers may go to nearby residential streets that don't have speed humps
    • Emergency services can be delayed up to 10 seconds per speed hump
    • Potential for an increase in traffic noise and vibration
    • Discomfort for local residents who must travel over them every day
  • Speed Tables expand
  • Speed Tables

    Speed tables are like speed humps, with slight differences:

    • Speed tables are larger than speed humps, and have a flat top with ramps on both sides.
    • Speed tables have less impact on large vehicles like fire engines and buses.
    • Speed tables are more expensive to put in than speed humps.

    Speed tables are 3 inches high and 6 metres (20 feet) long.

    Speed tables work best when they're spaced around 125 to 225 metres apart.

    Funding for speed tables

    Funding for speed tables comes from the traffic calming program. Speed tables cost around $5,000 to $7,000 each to install.

    Advantages of speed tables

    • Reduce overall speeds, including the number of drivers exceeding the limit.
    • Speed tables are better for emergency services than speed humps.
    • Cyclists can safely ride over speed tables.
    • Speed humps don't affect on-street parking.

    Disadvantages of speed tables

    • Traffic may move to parallel residential streets to avoid driving over speed tables
    • Emergency services can be delayed up to 10 seconds per speed table
    • Potential for an increase in traffic noise and vibration
    • Discomfort for local residents who must travel over them every day
  • Raised Intersections expand
  • Raised Intersections

    A raised intersection is a raised area of roadway located at an intersection.

    Raised intersections are usually used in combination with speed humps or speed tables, and together they are intended to allow a driver to travel the entire length of the roadway at a rate of speed that is at or slightly below the posted speed.

    In a retrofit situation, where the curbs, gutters, and sidewalk letdowns need to be reconstructed, raised intersections cost around $50,000 to install.

    Advantages of raised intersections

    • Very effective in reducing overall speeds as part of a wider traffic calming project including the number of drivers exceeding the speed limit
    • Can be safely navigated by bikes
    • Do not affect on-street parking
    • Increase the visibility of pedestrians because the crosswalk locations are also raised

    Disadvantages of raised intersections

    • Traffic may be diverted to parallel residential streets that do not have traffic calming measures
    • Emergency services can be delayed up to 10 seconds per raised intersection
    • Potential for an increase in traffic noise and vibration
    • Discomfort for local residents who must travel over them every day
    • Very expensive compared to speed humps and speed tables, with little additional benefit
  • Raised Crossings expand
  • Raised Crossings

    Raised crossings are essentially speed tables placed at pedestrian crossing locations. A speed table is a raised area of roadway that is intended to slow traffic. Most motorists slow to 30 - 35 km/h to traverse a speed table. Raised crossings are elevated to a height that matches the adjacent sidewalk and are flush with the curb at each end.

    Raised crossings are 3 inches high and 6 m (20 feet) long. They are used in combination with other traffic calming devices such as speed humps or speed tables, and are typically used at places where there are high pedestrian volumes crossing the road.

    Purpose of raised crossings

    Raised crossings serve a dual purpose. They are usually used in combination with speed tables or speed humps, and the overall intent is to allow the driver to travel the entire roadway at a rate of speed that is at or slightly below the posted speed. Additionally, they can create a more visible crossing for pedestrians.

    Raised crossings cost about $20,000 to install.

  • Traffic Circles expand
  • Traffic Circles

    A traffic circle is a raised island located in the centre of an intersection, which requires motorists to travel in a counter-clockwise direction around the island, with the possible exception of long service vehicles and emergency vehicles. A traffic circle also provides right-of-way control. The centre island can be landscaped or made of coloured asphalt to increase visibility and attractiveness.

    Traffic circles are effective in reducing vehicular speeds through the intersection by impeding the straight-through movement. All vehicles from all approaches must yield to traffic circling the raised island. Traffic circles are typically installed in residential neighbourhoods at intersections with low daily traffic volumes.

    Traffic Circles vs. roundabouts

    Traffic circles are similar to roundabouts, but roundabouts are larger in size, have raised splitter islands on all approaches and are a traffic control element that is equivalent to a traffic signal. Roundabouts are used on much busier roads than traffic circles. Motorists are expected to travel at much slower speeds around traffic circles than roundabouts. However, the rules of the road are the same for traffic circles as for roundabouts.

    In a retrofit situation, when sidewalks and drainage patterns may need changing, traffic circles cost about $50,000 to install.

    Advantages of traffic circles

    • Very effective in reducing overall speeds including the number of drivers exceeding the speed limit
    • Can reduce motor collision severity by eliminating right-angle conflicts
    • Can enhance the aesthetics of the area

    Disadvantages of traffic circles

    • Can restrict access and turning movement of larger and emergency vehicles
    • Traffic may be diverted to parallel residential streets
    • Increase in response time for emergency services
    • May not be effective at reducing speeds on all approaches at T-intersections

Request a Traffic Calming Evaluation

Follow the steps to request a traffic calming evaluation if your neighbourhood is having problems with traffic speed on your lane, school zone or local residential road.

Before we put in traffic calming devices, we consider:

  • cost and effectiveness,
  • suitability and practicality for the existing conditions, and
  • effect on emergency vehicles.

We fund 100% of the traffic calming installation and manage all aspects of approved projects. Project timelines are subject to weather, construction complexity, number of other projects, coordination with other projects in the area, and funding availability.

The process and criteria are different depending where you are requesting the calming.

Review the Traffic Calming Process

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  • Requesting traffic calming on a local road expand
  • Requesting traffic calming on a local road

    Traffic calmed neighbourhood and speed hump signsHighways, arterial roads, and collector roads aren’t eligible for traffic calming, except for collector roads fronting elementary schools. This is because history shows traffic calming on arterial or collector roads doesn't work because it increases number of drivers using shortcuts on local roads to avoid the inconvenience and discomfort, increases emergency services' response times, and increases wear on transit vehicles and makes a bus ride uncomfortable, possibly unsafe, for passengers.

    Learn the classification of your street in the City's Road Classification Map before requesting traffic calming.

    Follow these steps to see if traffic calming is right for your neighbourhood's local road. You can also now submit your request through the MySurrey Portal by selecting the Traffic Calming option.

    Step 1: You organize a traffic calming petition

    Fill out a Local Road Petition Form and send it to trafficcalming@surrey.ca, showing:

    • location of the local road,
    • description of the problem,
    • time of day when the most problems are most significant,
    • factors your neighbourhood thinks are causing the problems (eg, congestion at nearby intersections),
    • names, addresses and signatures of at least 10 separate households on the street of concern, and
    • your name, address and contact information as the petition organizer.

    Step 2:  We do a location review

    We focus traffic calming in Surrey on locations with long-term traffic speed issues, where the majority of drivers are driving inappropriately.

    We don't put in traffic calming in locations with ongoing construction, because this is usually a temporary issue. But, if your neighbourhood still sees a traffic speed issue after construction's finished, contact us to start the evaluation process.

    Criteria: We'll consider traffic calming if​ 85% of daily vehicles travel at 10 km/h higher than the posted speed limit (usually 50 km/h).

    Based on previous reviews of other local roads, experience has shown that the City is often unable to support the introduction of traffic calming because the above criteria have not been met. Streets that may not qualify for traffic calming often have one or more of the following features:

    • Significant usage of on-street parking
    • Narrow pavement widths
    • Curves
    • Roads less than 2 blocks long (including cul-de-sacs or crescent roads)

    Prior to gathering signatures for a petition, please take these factors into consideration to help you determine the likelihood of your roadway meeting the warrants of a traffic study. Should you still decide to submit a petition, the City will conduct a traffic study to determine if traffic calming is warranted.

    Timeline: During our review, we:

    • Survey traffic conditions in the neighbourhood and collect daily traffic volume and speed data.
    • Look at street issues like speeds, school zone, etc.
    • Collect traffic data through radar studies and traffic counters using a traffic counter to collect vehicle speeds and volumes.

    At the end of the review, usually within 1 to 2 months after receiving the petition, we'll contact you with the result, and letting you know the next steps.

    If the area meets the traffic calming criteria, we'll put the street or neighbourhood on our prioritized list for traffic calming plan development and funding.

    Step 3: We develop a Traffic Calming Plan

    We develop a cost-effective Traffic Calming Plan for the street, to use in future consultation. This plan may include signs and traffic calming devices. 

    Step 4: Your neighbourhood gives input

    We send out neighbourhood opinion surveys on the Traffic Calming Plan and gather feedback for around a month. In the survey, we ask households who live in the area to show their support for or opposition to the plan.

    We'll go to the next step if:

    • at least 40% of the residents in the affected area complete the survey, and if
    • at least 67% of the residents who do the survey support the Traffic Calming Plan.

    If we don't hear from a household within the timeframe, we assume the household accepts the choice made by their neighbours.

    Speed humpStep 5: We arrange design, funding, and construction

    We arrange for any detailed design work, allocate project funding, and engage a contractor to install the traffic calming measures, including signs, pavement markings and landscaping.

    Timeline: Traffic calming construction on local roads usually happens around 9 to 15 months after we've completed the neighbourhood survey.

  • Requesting traffic calming in back lanes expand
  • Requesting traffic calming in back lanes

    Speed hump in laneSend a completed Lane petition form to trafficcalming@surrey.ca showing:

    • lane location,
    • names, addresses and signatures of at least 67% of the properties that touch the specified lane, and
    • your name, address and contact information as the petition organizer.

    After we check that the lane meets the traffic calming criteria, we'll

    • start the design process,
    • allocate funding for the project, and
    • engage a contractor to install the traffic calming measures, including signs and pavement markings.

    Timeline: Construction usually takes place 9 to 15 months after we receive your petition.

  • Requesting traffic calming in school zones expand
  • Requesting traffic calming in school zones

    School zone and speed humps signsSchools contact us to request traffic calming in school zones. A petition isn't necessary. If you want traffic calming fronting a school, ask the principal of the school to talk to us. Review our School Travel Planning page to see the status of your school.

    After we make sure the area meets the traffic calming criteria, we'll start the design process, allocate funding for the project, and engage a contractor to install the traffic calming devices, including signs and pavement markings.

    Timeline: Construction usually starts 9 to 15 months after we receive the school's request.

Contact us

Contact Transportation Planning at TrafficCalming@Surrey.ca or 604-591-4580 if you have any questions on Surrey's Traffic Calming program.