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  • SPEED HUMPS EFFECTS | Freedom for Drivers Foundation

    SPEED HUMPS EFFECTS Humps Have No Effect The following article was published in September 2006: ​ Speed humps were installed in Manor Park Road, Chislehurst in the London Borough of Bromley in 1999. The traffic calming scheme for this road (and its continuation, Watts Lane) was the reason for the formation of local pressure group BBRAG in 1998 who opposed the installation of the speed humps because they said the cost of £40,000 was a waste of money and would have been better spent elsewhere. They also questioned whether the humps would prevent the kinds of accidents that took place in the road, which were relatively few anyway. Well it is now seven years since the scheme was installed so what are the subsequent statistics for road accidents? ​ Taking information from reports produced by Bromley Council staff back in 1998, and another similar report obtained recently, the figures are: For the three years prior to August 1998: 14 injuries. For the seven years prior to May 2006: 27 injuries. There were no fatalities in either period. In other words, there were 4.7 injuries per year before the installation of the humps, and 3.8 injuries per year after the installation of the humps. Assuming that the reporting of injuries has been consistent (which is certainly questionable from other reports recently published), then there are two issues here: 1. Is this difference statistically significant against a control group (so that other changes in accident trends can be excluded)? 2. Is the difference likely to be accounted for by reduced traffic volumes due to traffic diversion? The 19% apparent reduction is only slightly better than the 14% reduction in road traffic accidents in the same period in the Borough of Bromley as a whole (and this was almost the last speed hump scheme installed in Bromley). The 5% difference is certainly not statistically significant. ​ In practice that 5% improvement is almost certainly the result of traffic diversion as usually there would be more than 10% diversion of traffic as a result of speed humps (there is an easy diversionary route in this case). In conclusion therefore, this speed hump scheme has not cut accidents and it was a waste of money as BBRAG originally claimed. ​ A full analysis of the data can be seen in the following pdf document: Speed-Humps-Have-No-Effect . Of course what is not mentioned in the report is the pain and suffering these humps have inflicted on residents over the last few years, the damage to vehicles, the extra road maintenance cost, the delays to emergency service vehicles and other adverse effects which we have repeatedly pointed out. Back to Speed Humps Main Page

  • SPEED HUMPS OLD HILL ACCIDENT | Freedom for Drivers Foundation

    SPEED HUMPS - OLD HILL ACCIDENT This note explains how a traffic calming scheme was the direct cause of a serious injury to Anja Szkodowski (picture left) in September 2005. Local residents had objected to certain aspects of a traffic calming scheme in Old Hill, Chislehurst (in the London Borough of Bromley) after it was introduced in 2003. For example local pressure group BBRAG said in June 2003: “The scheme consists of a speed table and 6 sets of split humps. BBRAG has always opposed this traffic calming scheme, except for the speed table at the junction with Brenchley Close. The way the two humps on the lower part of the hill have been implemented appears to be particularly dangerous, with only a single “cushion” in the centre of the road, and in one case white hatching lines to encourage you to drive down the centre of the road! Having such a design on a narrow road, where it is only possible to see a limited distance around the bend in the road seems particularly inept.” They also pointed out that the single cushions were hidden by dappled shade from overhanging trees in the summer which made them even more dangerous (see picture left – can you see the humps?). Despite several meetings with council staff and councillors, nothing was done, and indeed it was even claimed that there were potential legal liabilities if the humps were removed - this is in fact nonsense and a note on such Legal Liabilities was prepared which you can see at: Councillors-Legal-Liabilities . ​ In 2004, at the prompting of local residents a complaint was made to the Local Government Ombudsman (LGO). As expected, the LGO rejected the complaints. The complaints were: 1. The original public consultation leaflet was misleading and probably caused residents to support the scheme when they would not have done so had the truth about the accident record been correctly stated. ​ 2. The single humps are not in accordance with government guidance as regards the maximum recommended width as published by the Department for Transport (DfT) in a “Traffic Advisory Leaflet”, and also are in a configuration which is clearly dangerous and not recommended in such guidance. Note that such guidance is laid down as “good practice” to ensure a safe, practical and publicly acceptable implementation of such schemes. ​ 3. The council did not undertake an adequate investigation of the noise, vibration and other inconvenience suffered by local residents and road users as a result of the design of the scheme, despite many complaints. The LGO effectively said: On item 1: The residents may not have voted differently if the consultation leaflet had been worded differently, so that is no administrative fault. ​ On item 2: The DfT guidance is not law and council staff therefore had discretion to adopt some other approach if they saw fit, so again there is no maladministration. ​ On item 3: The council has promised a further review, so there are no grounds for the LGO to intervene. As an aside, one can see exactly why so many people are frustrated and annoyed by the response they get from the Local Government Ombudsman. On item 2 for example, if the council was in breach of the law then other remedies are possible, but the LGO was specifically set up to deal with administrative mistakes that adversely affect people and to which normal legal channels do not provide a remedy. Clearly the LGO has totally lost track of its purpose and objectives. ​ However, a further review was promised and another round of public consultation was also undertaken. But we could not have anticipated that an accident of the kind that BBRAG and many local residents had foreseen, was about to take place. ​ On the 4th September 2005, Anja Szkodowski was riding a cycle down Old Hill, and did not notice the large, single “cushions” in the centre of the road on the lower part of the hill. Anja was thrown from her bike and was seriously injured. With breaks to her jaw in three places, and other injuries, she spent three days in hospital and is still undergoing extensive repair work to her teeth. Fortunately, she was young and hence made a fairly rapid recovery, but there is no denying that this was a “serious” accident, and indeed a potentially fatal one. And her financial loss was considerable as she was off work for three weeks, apart from the pain and suffering she experienced. (Note: that road traffic accidents are classed as “serious” if there are broken bones or an overnight hospital stay is required). ​ This accident took place on one of the large cushions placed in the centre of the road on the lower part of Old Hill. Those “cushions” did not accord with recommendations laid down by the Government and the design and positioning of the cushions was positively dangerous. And as Anja herself said: “All in all I went through the most difficult time of my life. Looking back at that incident I truly believe that my accident could have been avoided as there is no need for such speed humps in this road.” ​ Note also that this is the only “serious” injury suffered by anyone on this road in the last few years, even including the two years before the humps were installed. So instead of preventing accidents, the traffic calming scheme was a direct cause of making them worse. Old Hill was never an accident black spot and in reality has a better record for accidents than many other roads in the London Borough of Bromley. This accident not only highlights the general problems that speed humps cause for cyclists and motorcyclists, but also the wasted expenditure on a road safety scheme that in fact made the situation worse. ​ Subsequent to the writing of the above note in 2005, the speed cushions were replaced by speed tables. ​ Back to Speed Humps Main Page

  • CAMPAIGNS | Freedom for Drivers Foundation

    CAMPAIGNS This page covers the current and past campaigns by the Freedom for Drivers Foundation. They demonstrate how drivers can have a significant influence on the policies of central and local government if supporters are active in promoting our views. ​ The FFDF runs campaigns on important transport issues. The list below covers our current campaigns and some of the past ones so you can see how it is possible to stimulate public debate and thwart unreasonable proposals. Contact us if you need support for a local campaign. London Road Closures . A campaign against road closures caused by Low Traffic Neighbourhoods and the Streetspace policy that are creating more congestion. Against MTS . A campaign against the Mayor of London's Transport Strategy which is a blatant attack on motorists and against the ULEZ scheme. Lewisham A campaign against the closing of roads in Lewisham as part of the "Healthy Neighbourhoods" or Low Traffic Neighbourhood (LTN) proposals. Croydon 20 A campaign against a wide area, very expensive 20 mph signed only scheme in the London Borough of Croydon. Dartford Crossing ​ A campaign opposing charges on the Dartford Crossing and the new payment system. WesternCon ​ A campaign in support of removal of the Western Extension of the Congestion Charge Zone. Back to Resources Greenwich Congestion Zone A campaign opposing a congestion charge in the London Borough of Greenwich. Richmond Parking ​ A campaign against an Emission Based Permit Parking Scheme in the London Borough of Richmond.

  • LONDON ROAD CLOSURES | Freedom for Drivers Foundation

    LONDON ROAD CLOSURES This page covers the campaigns against road closures in London boroughs that have been put in place since early 2020 using the Covid-19 epidemic as an excuse. They typically use “modal filters” (i.e. planters and bollards as in the above photograph taken in L.B. Lewisham) or cameras to close roads; or they provide access at only certain times (as in “School Streets”). ​ These measures are also based on the introduction of Low Traffic Neighbourhoods (LTNs) where the aim is to cut vehicle use on local roads and stop vehicles from outside the local area driving on them regardless of why they are doing so (or as councils say “to stop the rat-runners” although people are not rats so this term is very objectionable). They are sometimes called something else such as “Healthy Neighbourhoods” or “Mini-Hollands”. LTNs are being encouraged and financed by central Government and are being introduced without public consultation or consent. They create enormous difficulties for many people such as the elderly or disabled, service workers or care and social service workers, or those who need to carry goods. Traffic congestion has worsened as a result, and this has led to worse air pollution in many areas. Road closures are all part of the Mayor’s Transport Strategy (MTS) and are promoted by Transport for London (TfL). See this web page for more information on the MTS: Against-MTS . ​ This web page summarises the various campaigns on this issue that have come to our attention and we encourage you to support them. There are also many articles on this subject that refute the arguments put forward for LTNs on this page: Low-Traffic-Neighbourhoods ​ Many of the campaigns have supporting petitions. They are listed below - please sign them. ​ Lewisham: There is a petition on against the road closures here: . Please sign it if you have not done so already. There is a specific page on this web site dedicated to the campaign on behalf of Lewisham residents here: Lewisham-Campaign ​ Lambeth: Opposition to road closures in the Oval Triangle: . And there is a specific petition against closures of Railton Road and Shakespeare Road on here: . Plus one on the St Matthews Road closure: . A web site is present here: and a fund for legal action is being raised here: ​ Islington: Opposition to road closures in Prebend Street, Colebrooke Row, etc, in the St. Peters Ward: . And a campaign to keep Highbury moving here: ​ Waltham Forest: A petition against road closures in the borough: ​ Southwark : A petition against road closures in the Walworth/Kennington area: , plus a petition against road closures in Dulwich: and one for East Dulwich: Croydon : A petition against the closure of the Southern Avenue/ Lancaster Road Junction, in South Norwood: . A fund for legal action is being raised here: Sunbury : A petition against an “Active Travel” scheme including road closures in Sunbury: . The scheme has now been withdrawn. ​ Wandsworth : Opposition to a “Low Traffic Neighbourhood” in Heaver/Balham South: ​ Ealing : Opposition to plans for “Low Traffic Neighbourhoods” and the failure of the Council to disclose those plans: . ​ A fund for legal action is being raised here: . There is also a specific campaign against the Fox Lane LTN with funds being raised for legal action - see ​ Enfield : Objection to Low Traffic Neighbourhood: A fund for legal action is being raised here: Hammersmith & Fulham: Local M.P. Greg Hands created a petition calling on LBHF to cancel its SW6 traffic scheme. Greenwich : Opposition to road closures blocking east-west routes: and opposed to Hills and Vales closures: ​ Hounslow : Demand for consultation on South Chiswick traffic measures ; and Call for reversal of LTN in Chiswick: . ​ A fund for legal action is being raised here: ​ Newham : For immediate removal of Newham’s LTN schemes: Hackney : Petition to reverse the road closures and have a public consultation: . Funds for legal action are being raised here: and here: / ​ Camden : Opposition to Arlington Road and other road closures: . There is wide opposition to LTN schemes in Camden. ​ Harrow : Petition opposing road blocks: There are also road closures taking place in these London boroughs: Tower Hamlets and Kingston. If you live or work in those boroughs, why not create your own petition against them? It’s very easy to do so on . Or if you need assistance with a campaign against road closures, please contact the FFDF using this page: Contact ​ There is also opposition to the removal of road space for cycle lanes, bus lanes and wider pavements. See: ​ Kensington & Chelsea: Petition to halt Kensington High Street Cycle Scheme: ​ Hounslow : Opposition to cycle lane on Chiswick High Road by One Chiswick campaign: ​ Camden : Funding for legal case against cycle lanes on Haverstock Hill: Low Traffic Neighbourhoods are now promoted under a “Streetspace” policy adopted by TfL under the Mayors Transport Strategy (MTS). We have consistently opposed the MTS. Go to this web page: Against-MTS for more information or you can register your interest and receive updates by going here: MTS-Updates. ​ ​ Back to Campaigns ​ ​

  • LEGAL | Freedom for Drivers Foundation

    LEGAL The following are the terms and conditions that apply to use of this web site. ​ 1. Ownership. This web site and the associated intellectual property is maintained on behalf of the Freedom for Drivers Foundation (FFDF) - which is a trading name of Roliscon Ltd, a company registered in England. ​ 2. Copyright. All material on this web site is copyright unless otherwise indicated. All rights are reserved and any material on this web site must not be reproduced in any form or incorporated into other work without the written permission of the authors and/or of any other copyright owner. All requests for rights to use any of the material should be submitted to via email using the Contact page. Permission is however granted for use of any material on this web site for any non-commercial purpose including educational or news reporting purposes so long as an acknowledgement of such source is given. ​ 3. Trade Marks. “FFDF”, and “Freedom for Drivers Foundation” are registered trade marks of the Freedom for Drivers Foundation (Roliscon Ltd). ​ 4. No Warranty. Any information provided on this web site is accurate and up to date so far as we are aware, but no warranty is given as to the reliability, accuracy or completeness of the information provided. Any errors herein should be referred to us for correction. The information provided on this web site is intended for general information only and should not be construed as being specific legal advice that can be relied upon. Any actions you may take as a result of any information or advice contained on this web site should be verified with third parties such as legal or other professional advisors and is used solely at your own risk. ​ 5. Privacy Policy. Any personal information that you submit via this web site will be kept and treated as confidential and will normally only be used for internal purposes and for communicating with you. Otherwise we will not sell, rent, lease, or give away your personal information, including email addresses, to others, except where disclosure is required by law, or you have indicated that you wish such information to be in the public domain. If at any time you require any personal information such as an email address to be removed from our records indicating that you do not wish to receive any further communication from us then we will do this upon receipt of an email from the relevant address, or some other evidence that you are the owner of the address. If you register an interest in any of our campaigns by completing a web form or returning a postal leaflet, or you register to receive any of our newsletters then you are giving us permission to send you requested information, newsletters and other information in the future. You can opt-out as described above or by clicking on an opt-out link that is present in all emails we send out. ​ 6. Third party links. This site may contain links to other third party web sites. We are not responsible for the operations of these web sites, and provides no warranty as to the information provided therein. ​ 7. Use of Cookies. This web site uses Google Analytics to collect some information about how visitors use the web site and trends in visitor numbers, and that software does store a “cookie” (a small data file) on your computer. There is no personal data collected about how you use the web site. You can block cookies by altering the settings in your web browser, or remove existing ones. ​ 8. Contributed Information and Forums. Any information that you submit may be published and may be edited before publication at our absolute discretion, unless you specifically advise otherwise. By submitting such information to us you grant us full copyright in the material so supplied and in any derivative works that may arise as a result of our use of such material. You warrant that you have the right to grant such rights. You will not use any blogs, discussion forums or bulletin boards maintained by us (as part of this site or otherwise), to publish inaccurate or defamatory material. You will use such services for legal purposes alone and we reserve the right to remove such material if such usage is brought to our attention in respect of your use of the web site or other services. You accept that we do not monitor nor control information placed on blogs, forums or bulletin boards by contributors and that you must use your own judgement about the accuracy of that information and the reliance you place on it. ​ 9. Waiver of Liability. By using this web site, you accept that we will not be liable in respect of any damage, expense or loss whether direct, indirect or consequential that you may suffer arising out the use of information on this web site or any reliance you place thereon. ​ 10. Jurisdiction and Amendments. These terms and conditions will be governed by and construed by English law and the English courts will have sole jurisdiction in relation to any disputes that may arise from use of this web site. These terms and conditions may be varied at any time at the discretion of the web site owners. Last revised 1/3/2021

  • SPEED HUMPS AND MEDICAL CONDITIONS | Freedom for Drivers Foundation

    SPEED HUMPS AND MEDICAL CONDITIONS Speed bumps have a major impact on people suffering from some medical conditions, such as back problems. Any complaints are often ignored or belittled. The following are extracts from letters received from local residents in the London Borough of Bromley: ​ "My mother lives next door here in Raggleswood. She has osteoporosis and finds it very painful when she is driven in a taxi along Watts Lane over the speed humps.” A.S. ​ “I am a sufferer from Motor Neurone Disease, now needing the use of a wheelchair. The introduction of calming measures, and in particular the proposed road humps, would add unnecessary obstructions to my (and other wheelchair users) safe and comfortable progress around Chislehurst. I feel no approach has been made to obtain the views of car passengers travelling in wheelchairs when making these decisions. Speed humps add considerably to the discomfort of such passengers.” M.J.B “The bumps in the road (Watts Lane and Manor Park Road). Whilst my wife was negotiating these, having had an operation on her back, she had considerable leg spasms. These bumps can cause personal physical damage……” J.C.S. ​ "As a kidney transplant recipient, and formerly on peritoneal dialysis, I can assure you that any major abdominal operation results in discomfort for some time afterwards when riding over a speed hump at any speed at all. Peritoneal dialysis also results in discomfort when travelling over speed bumps." R.W.L. ​ "My elderly mother was returning from hospital in an ambulance after dislocating her jaw, and when the ambulance went slowly over a speed bump it dislocated again." G.P.Y. ​ "Personally, I have a brain cyst and going over humps hurts." B.B. ​ If you complain about such problems to road safety experts they simply say you should take another route, or slow down more. The former is often not possible, and is effectively discrimination against disabled people, and the latter does not work in most cases. In any case, if you are using public transport such as buses, ambulances or taxis, it is not always possible to tell them to slow down, or even if you do they may not take heed, or may simply not notice a hump in time. ​ Emily Wilcox, who lives in Berkeley, California, suffers from a spine deformity. She finds driving over speed bumps painful at any speed above zero. She has campaigned against their use for many years and managed to get a moratorium against more installations in Berkeley. ​ Another US example she has identified is that of Courtney Wickard who suffers from osteogenesis imperfecta, a genetic bone defect. Her arm and bones in her spine were broken when a school bus she was in hit a speed bump. ​ She points out that vertical deflection devices are typically designed to generate loadings of 0.69 g on road users, whereas US government publications recommend 0.3 g as a “high” maximum for wheelchair users, so there is clearly a contradiction. ​ Emily, and others, petitioned the Secretary of the US Department of Transportation to stop this restriction on road access to disabled Americans. To quote “Unfortunately, no matter who we approach and no matter how we protest, the serious negative impact that vertical deflection devices are having on our ability to access our own homes and communities, let alone our right to travel freely, are largely being ignored.” ​ Isobel Hare who is chairperson of the Edinburgh and Lothian branch of the National Osteoporosis Society, has also been kicking up a fuss about the speed “cushions” in her area. As a long time sufferer from the disease she said: “They are difficult to negotiate and I often get a nasty jolt on the spine. Ultimately this could really damage the vertebrae.” Her comments were supported by the clinical director of a local osteopath who said that “if you have back pain this will exacerbate the problem” and “I have had a lot of patients who come in swearing about speed humps”. ​ In May 2005, Judith McCrorie, a disabled person who lives in Scotland and who is severely affected by speed humps and other traffic calming measures submitted the following petition to the Scottish Parliament: McCorrie-Scottish-Petition . It covers the particular problems of the disabled, the impact of the new Disability Discrimination Act in the UK, and the latest comments from the London Ambulance Service. ​ Back to Speed Humps Main Page ​ ​ ​

  • 20MPH SPEED LIMITS | Freedom for Drivers Foundation

    ROAD SAFETY - 20MPH LIMITS There have been many calls to reduce speed limits on urban roads, which in London is of course most of the roads. That includes demands for the introduction of wide-area 20 MPH speed limits - often “signed only” ones with no accompany road engineering measures. Their effectiveness is very questionable though. The FFDF is not opposed to 20 MPH speed limits on residential streets and where the normal speed of traffic is closely aligned so that compliance will be high. But we question the enormous expenditure on wide-area schemes which might have minimal impact on average speeds and on road traffic accidents. Clearly the money spent on them would be better spent on other road safety programmes or measures. ​ The following are some of the past articles that have been published on this subject which cover some of the available evidence: Response to GLA Inquiry in 2008 Portsmouth 20 MPH Zones - published in 2010 20 MPH Speed Limits - Historic Evidence - published in 2012 ​ There were a number of articles subsequently published on the impact of 20 mph speed limits on our blog. To read them, go to our blog and search for “20 mph” (see Blog ) ​ A definitive report from the Department for Transport (DfT) published in November 2018 shows there is no road safety benefit whatsoever from 20-mph signed-only schemes, read this blog article. ​ Key paragraphs from the DfT report are: "The evidence available to date shows no significant change in the short term in collisions and casualties, in the majority of the case studies (including the aggregated set of residential case studies)." ​ "Journey speed analysis shows that the median speed has fallen by 0.7mph in residential areas and 0.9mph in city centre areas." ​ "The majority of residents (about two-thirds) and non-resident drivers (just over half) have not noticed a reduction in the speed of vehicles, and do not perceive there to be fewer vehicles driving at excessive speeds for the area." ​ Claims that 20 MPH speed limits encourage people to get out of their cars and cycle or walk more are also not substantiated by any evidence. ​ Before 1930 Great Britain had a blanket 20 mph speed limit across the whole country. But road deaths in the year before this limit was abandoned were about 7,300 compared with about 1,900 in recent years. They also fell in the years immediately after 1930 when they had been rising before. ​ Apart from the DfT report mentioned above, there are many reports on individual schemes in Portsmouth, Bristol, Manchester, Oxford, Hampshire, the City of London, and the London Borough of Hammersmith & Fulham that show there is no benefit. ​ Back to Road Safety

  • TRAFFIC AND CONGESTION | Freedom for Drivers Foundation

    TRAFFIC AND CONGESTION Traffic Congestion - A Major Problem ​ In London traffic congestion has probably been a problem ever since the city was founded in Roman times - for example average traffic speeds are known to be similar today to what they were in Victorian times when it was predominantly horse drawn. Although cycling has increased in recent years, and bus usage has increased due to massive subsidies to bus operators, traffic congestion is still a major problem. This is frustrating to road users, economically costly in wasted time and results in greater atmospheric pollution. ​ The Greater London Authority and Mayors (of different political complexions) have established various strategies to tackle traffic problems in London over the past fifteen years as part of their overall Transport Strategy. The adopted policies have been ineffective and congestion has actually got worse. ​ For example, the Congestion Charge tax has not reduced traffic congestion and it has actually got worse since that was introduced. Go to Congestion for more evidence on that. One reason is because there is simply a very large “unsatisfied demand” for more road space and this gets worse as the population and level of business activity in London rises - as it has done rapidly in recent years. Traffic queuing at Blackfriars due to work on the Cycle Superhighway. In summary, the GLA has no plans to significantly improve the road transport network in London and believes that public transport is the only solution. We do not agree with this strategy and suggest that improvements in the road network should be undertaken, particular in the outer London boroughs and on strategic routes. In practice road space has been reduced rather than increased. There are other changes that could be made to reduce congestion - for example by removing unnecessary traffic lights. One thing a former mayor was keen on was more tram or light rail systems, but they have proved to be very expensive to build and operate and new tram systems have not been built since the Croydon system. More public transport systems and increased support for cycling will not reduce congestion - enormous amounts have been spent on those solutions, with very little impact. ​ Mayor Sadiq Khan published his proposed London Transport Strategy in July 2017 and it’s basically an attack on private motorists, and Private Hire Vehicles (PHVs), with more congestion charging (or road pricing) proposed. Indeed, by imposing higher parking charges, workplace parking levies and other restrictions, he aims to reduce car use, reduce our transport choices and generally dictate our lifestyles. ​ More information on this and the FFDFs campaign against it is present here: Against-MTS . Please study the information and register your support. ​ Low Traffic Neighbourhoods In 2020 the Covid-19 epidemic prompted the Government and TfL to reallocate road space, or close roads, to encourage more cycling and walking. This is a misconceived policy that will result in even worse traffic congestion. There is more information on this on our blog - see our blog for more information. ​ Road Pricing and Smart Road User Charging Our views on these topics are summarised in the response we gave to the London Assembly inquiry into Smart Road User Charging which can be read here: Road-User-Charging ​ Back to Resources

  • SPEED HUMPS IN THE USA | Freedom for Drivers Foundation

    SPEED HUMPS IN THE USA The following documents are some papers written by Kathleen Calogne of Boulder, Colorado who has campaigned against speed humps in the USA. The references at the end of the papers are a very good source of further information (note: some of the links in the original papers have been removed as they are no longer functioning). PROBLEMS ASSOCIATED WITH TRAFFIC CALMING DEVICES By Kathleen Calongne Boulder, CO January, 2003 ​ Traffic calming devices, such as speed humps and traffic circles are spreading to communities across the United States, without regard to their risks. The U.S. Department of Transportation (USDOT) has avoided the examination of the problems associated with intentionally imposing vertical and horizontal deflection on vehicles and vehicle passengers, in order to encourage the proliferation of devices on city streets. ​ Deflection devices built to slow passenger vehicles, create even greater delays to emergency response vehicles. The longer wheel-base, stiff suspension, high vehicle weight, as well as the sensitive equipment and injured victims transported by these vehicles, require drivers to slow almost to a stop to negotiate the devices safely. ​ An unethical attempt has been made to silence the objections of rescue personnel to delays to emergency response by deflection devices. Fire chiefs, as city appointees, fear professional retribution and often will not voice concern until the level of risk becomes intolerable. Emergency calls are not the rare events some members of transportation and city staff would like to believe. The City of Houston, Texas for example, responds to an average of 150,000 emergency medical calls and 100,000 fire calls per year. There is an average of 250,000 deaths from sudden cardiac arrest (SCA) alone each year in the United States. American Heart Association (AHA) statistics indicate that 90% of these incidents occur outside of the hospital environment. By comparison, there are approximately 5,000 pedestrian deaths per year in the United States. Few of these occur on local neighborhood streets. A ten-year study of pedestrian deaths by the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, 1982 - 1992 found 35% of pedestrian victims were intoxicated. National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) statistics, Safety Facts 2000, found similar results with intoxication on the part of 31% of pedestrian victims. AHA statistics for SCA, show survivability is directly related to the response times of cities. For example, an AHA study in 1996 showed that Seattle with a response time of less than 7 minutes saved 30% of its SCA victims. New York, with an average response time of 12 minutes saved only 2%. ​ While delay from individual devices is sometimes measured, the cumulative effect of series of devices is often ignored. Series of devices turn seconds of delay into minutes, as vehicles fail to regain cruising speed between the devices. Calming devices impose permanent, 24-hour delays to emergency response, unlike traffic congestion which occurs periodically. A study conducted by the fire department of Austin, Texas, 1997, showed an increase in the travel time of ambulances of up to 100% transporting victims. ​ Members of city councils and transportation divisions often portray delay to emergency response by calming devices as simply a tradeoff for increased safety from speeding cars. They avoid making the analysis which shows which risk is greater. Ronald Bowman, a scientist in Boulder, Colorado developed an analysis to compare these risks. The results show that even minor delay to emergency response by calming devices imposes far greater risk on the community than vehicles, speeding or not. The result of Bowman’s analysis, showed a risk factor of 85 – 1 from an additional one minute of delay (predicted to result from the installation of all the devices proposed for the City of Boulder at the time) before one life might be saved by the devices -- if it can be shown that the devices do save lives. ​ The Bowman analysis was applied to the City of Austin, Texas by Assistant Fire Chief, Les Bunte, with similar results. The results of these analyses show that deflection devices are a tradeoff of the perception of increased safety from speeding vehicles for the real risk to citizen survivability from delay to emergency response. While the Institute of Transportation Engineers’ (ITE) Guidelines for the Design and Application of Speed Humps, 1997, states humps should never be placed on emergency response routes, humps and physical devices of all kinds have been installed on critical emergency response routes in cities where these projects exist. The proliferation of devices has resulted in temporary or permanent moratoriums on devices in cities such as Berkeley California, Boulder Colorado, Portland Maine and Portland Oregon. ​ People with disabilities complain of lasting pain and injury caused by traveling over deflection devices in vehicles. Significant testimony about the physical and psychological barrier deflection devices make to access to public rights-of-way has been given to the U.S. Access Board in Washington DC. ​ Calming devices have been used to divide communities along racial and socioeconomic lines. The U.S. Department of Housing and Development (HUD) identified gates implemented as part of a traffic calming project in Houston, Texas as discriminatory, ordering them removed. Gates were replaced with speed humps to create a similar, though less obvious, barrier between neighborhoods. ​ While calming devices are built on the premise they will reduce accidents, a comprehensive study commissioned by the ITE and the Federal Highway Administration (FHWA) on traffic calming projects in the United States concludes: ​ “Traffic calming in the U.S. is largely restricted to low volume residential streets. Collisions occur infrequently on such streets to begin with, and any systematic change in collision rates tends to get lost in the random variation from year to year. This limits our confidence in drawing inferences about safety impacts of traffic calming. (Traffic Calming: State of the Practice, Reid Ewing, 1999, P. 123) ​ The USDOT defines traffic calming devices as geometric design features of the roadway, rather than traffic control devices. The USDOT recommends standards for the design and warrants for the use of devices that are approved traffic control devices in the Manual on Uniform Traffic Control Devices (MUTCD). The definition of traffic calming devices as geometric design features of the road has allowed devices to proliferate on city streets as a decision of local governments. ​ An increase in accidents has occurred after some installations. Experimental speed humps placed on a street at a school in Portland, Maine registered an increase in accidents of 35%. Accidents increased 100% after the installation of an experimental traffic circle in Boulder, Colorado. However, the circle in Boulder and the humps in Portland remain on the street today. ​ People across the United States are opposing the installation of deflection devices on city streets that damage vehicles, injure vehicle passengers, increase pollution and gas consumption and delay emergency response. I have researched traffic calming projects since 1996, and have compiled my research into a 400-page report on the “Problems Associated with Traffic Calming Devices.” I offer the report to all interested individuals at my cost. The following is a summary of some of the issues addressed in my report. ​ SUMMARY OF PROBLEMS ASSOCIATED WITH TRAFFIC CALMING DEVICES IN THE UNITED STATES By Kathleen Calongne Boulder, CO January 2003 ​ EMERGENCY RESPONSE CONCERNS -- Delay to emergency response vehicles by traffic calming devices has resulted in moratoriums as well as removal of devices in cities around the country. Fire Departments warn of the increased risk caused by the proliferation of devices once a calming project has begun. A video taped discussion by the Fire Department of Portland, OR states the department was denied participation in the implementation of Portland's calming project, and in fact was prevented by its Transportation Division from voicing concerns publicly. An analysis by Ronald Bowman of Boulder, CO shows that communities are at far greater risk from delayed emergency response by calming devices than from vehicles. ​ The Bowman analysis was applied to the City of Austin, TX by Assistant Fire Chief, Les Bunte with similar results. Delay caused by humps on a street in Gaithersberg, MD may have contributed to the death of a child in a burning home. A firefighter descended into the basement of the home to rescue a child when "flashover" occurred, forcing his exit from the building. A resident of Houston, TX is brain dead after paramedics, unable to open a gate installed as part of calming project, were forced to take a longer route to the victim’s home. Gates on some Houston streets have been ordered open because of concerns for emergency response. So many humps were installed in one direction on a street leading from a Houston fire station that fire trucks only turn the opposite direction out of the station, regardless of the location of the call. ​ There are documented injuries of firefighters who have hit the roofs of their cabs, encountering speed humps unexpectedly. Some injuries have placed firefighters on temporary or permanent disability. ​ CIVIL RIGHTS VIOLATIONS -- Residents in Houston filed a complaint with HUD that gates installed as part of a calming project were used to segregate communities along racial and socioeconomic lines. HUD found the City of Houston in violation of the civil rights of its residents, ordering the gates removed. The gates were replaced with humps to effectively, though less overtly, discourage access to the neighborhoods. ​ VIOLATION OF THE FEDERAL CLEAN AIR ACT -- Funds allocated for a traffic calming experiment by the Congestion Mitigation and Air Quality (CMAQ) Program to the City of Portland, ME were rescinded when it was shown that the project of humps increased emissions by 48% without taking into consideration increased emissions from braking and acceleration required to negotiate the devices. The State of Maine has been ordered under the federal Clean Air Act to show evidence of compliance in reducing pollutants. Section 113, "Federal Enforcement,” states fines including imprisonment will be levied against entities responsible for knowingly increasing the release of pollutants into the air in cities on federal notice to improve air quality. The experiment has not been removed. ​ An Austrian study, in 1994, using a mobile exhaust fume measuring-device registered an increase in vehicle emissions of ten times on streets with speed humps. ​ The Transport Research Laboratory (TRL), a research agency of the Department of Transportation in the United Kingdom, conducted emissions tests in 1997 on streets with road humps and found the following results as reported in TRL Report 307: ​ “Schemes with a 75 metre hump spacing . . . showed increases in CO and HC of around 70 – 80% and 70 – 100% respectively, and an increase in CO2 of around 50-60%. Nox emissions were predicted to be about 0-20% lower after calming.” ​ To calculate the possible effect of smoother driving after the installation of humps (without braking and acceleration) the TRL measured the change in emissions associated with moving from a constant speed of 30 mph to a constant speed of 20 mph and found the following results: ​ CO and HC increased by 40 – 80%, CO2 by 30 – 40% and NOx by 20 – 30 %. ​ A more recent study by the TRL, Report 482 in 2001, registered increases in all emission pollutants after traffic calming: For petrol catalyst vehicles: CO 59%, HC 54%, NO2, 8%, CO2 26% ​ The study states that speed humps created the largest increase in pollutants of all calming devices tested. VIOLATION OF THE ADA -- A moratorium on speed humps is presently in effect in Berkeley, CA because of emergency response concerns and because of complaints from the disabled community. Persons with some disabilities state the lasting pain and injury caused by deflection devices makes them virtual barriers to accessibility. The Department of Justice regulations for Title II of the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) define “facility” to include “roads”. Title II states an alteration to a facility must make the facility accessible and usable to the maximum extent feasible. ​ The report, Building a True Community, 2001 by the Public Rights-of-Way Access Advisory Committee of the U.S. Access Board in Washington D.C, acknowledges significant testimony from people with a variety of disabilities that vertical and horizontal deflection devices are not only painful, but worsen existing conditions while traveling by vehicle. The U.S. Access Board publication, Accessible Rights of Way: sidewalks, street crossings, other pedestrian facilities, 1999, states that drivers with disabilities report the jarring from crossing speed humps even at low speeds can be painful and dangerous, resulting in the devices being “a barrier to roadway use.” Both publications suggest, in the absence of research, that entities consider other traffic calming measures. A lawsuit was filed against the City of Bethesda, MD by a disabled resident for placing speed humps on streets providing access to his home. Speed humps were removed from streets in San Diego County, CA because of problems experienced by disabled residents. A website addressing the concerns of the disabled with deflection devices can be found at: ​ LIABILITY AND LAWSUITS -- In August 1998, Florida Judge Robert Bennet ruled in favor of two residents of the City of Sarasota who filed suit against the city for placing devices on city streets that are not approved traffic control devices in the federal Manual on Uniform Traffic Control Devices (MUTCD). States have adopted the MUTCD as a guide for the recommended placement and design of devices that are approved traffic control devices. Compliance with warrants for the devices provides protection from liability. The decision was overturned on appeal, on the basis that the plaintiffs did not have standing to sue, not on the merits of the ruling. ​ The legal departments of some cities have reasoned the absence of standards and warrants for the design and use of traffic calming devices from the MUTCD indicates lack of authorization for cities to build the devices on streets. ​ Calming devices are typically marked with the yellow diamond shaped sign, recommended in the MUTCD to warn drivers of street hazards. Cities are required to keep streets free of hazards. Drivers can injure themselves and their vehicles driving over the devices at posted speed limits. Devices are typically designed to lower speeds below posted speed limits. The legal department of Sunnyvale CA expressed concern cities could be liable not only for injury caused by a device, but for injury and property damage resulting from actions taken by drivers because of a device, such as swerving around them. Legal departments express concern cities could be liable for personal injury and property loss wherein response to an emergency situation was delayed by calming devices. ​ CONFLICT -- It has been said that "traffic calming" has become "people calming.” Even pro-calming data acknowledges the volatility of the debate. Diversion of traffic to other streets always accompanies an installation of devices. Residents who must travel over the devices are often irate about the discomfort of the devices, the increased vehicle noise from loads shifting over devices and the visual pollution of the signs and pavement markings needed to warn drivers of devices. Division and angst often remain in the neighborhood, long after an installation is complete. ​ Kathleen Calongne RESOURCES ARTICLES ​ Reuben Castenada and Steven Gray, “Maryland Boy, 13, Dies in Fire at Friend’s Sleepover,” THE WASHINGTON POST, June 15, 1998 (Firefighter Stottlemeyer descends into basement to rescue child as flashover occurs forcing his exit from the home.) ​ Jen Chaney, “Fatal fire renews speed hump debate,” GAITHERSBERG GAZETTE, July 8, 1998 (Impact of delay caused by humps on street on rescue of child.) ​ Dwight Daniels, “Encinitas protesters’ parked vehicles hinder laying of speed bumps,” THE SAN DIEGO UNION TRIBUNE, Aug. 13, 1998 ​ Editorial, “Meeting air standards Maine’s obligation too,” PORTLAND PRESS HERALD, October 17, 1997 (Ruling of EPA) ​ Editorial, “Street Fights,” THE HOUSTON CHRONICLE, July 12, 1994 (Closures foster exclusivity rather than community.) ​ Dan Feldstein, “Brown has 911 gate removed,” THE HOUSTON CHRONICLE, August 18, 1998 (“Closure denies emergency access.”) ​ Dan Feldstein, “Subdivision struggles with great barrier rift,” THE HOUSTON CHRONICLE, February 22, 1999 ​ Kristen Green,“It’s neighbor vs. neighbor over Santee speed bumps,” THE SAN DIEGO UNION TRIBUNE, March 7, 2000 ​ Kristen Green, “Disabled woman wins fight to remove speed bumps on her street,” THE SAN DIEGO UNION TRIBUNE, May 12, 2000 ​ Jean-Martin Kuntscher, “Speed bumps cause ten times more air pollution,” ALLIANCE INTERNATIONALE DE TOURISME, FEDERATION INTERNATIONALE DE L’AUTOMOBILE, September 6, 1994 ​ Lisa Marshall, “Circles called hazards,” THE DAILY CAMERA, Boulder CO, December 12, 1996 ​ Paul Marston, “Humps increase exhaust fumes,” UK NEWS, ELECTRONIC TELEGRAPH, January 14, 1998 ​ Bruce Nichols, “Houston hits the brakes on speed-humps,” THE HOUSTON CHRONICLE, (“Deterrent for drivers raises worries about police, fire response.”) August 1, 1999 ​ Amy Reinholds, “Whittier attempts mediation …Neighbors square off on traffic issue” THE DAILY CAMERA, Boulder CO, January 21, 1997 ​ Amy Reinholds, “Slip-sliding away at Pine St. traffic circle”, THE COLORADO DAILY, Boulder, CO,November 20, 1996 ​ Judith Scherr, “Berkeley’s bumpy battle,” BERKELEY DAILY PLANET, March 27, 2000 (Berkeley Commission on Disability takes stand against humps.) ​ Mark Shanahan, “Federal government pulls funds from traffic-slowing experiment,” PORTLAND PRESS HERALD, August 18, 1998 ​ Matt Schwartz, “HUD labels Dian Street gate discriminatory, asks removal,” THE HOUSTON CHRONICLE, October 15, 1998 ​ Joanne B. Walker, “Speed bumps, tables meet legal obstacle,” ST. PETERSBURG TIMES, August 1998 (Judge Bennett rules in favor of two Florida residents who filed suit against city for placing devices on streets used for traffic control which are not approved traffic control devices in the Manual on Uniform Traffic Control Devices.) ​ John Williams, “Street Warfare” (Intersection sealing brings racism calls.) THE HOUSTON CHRONICLE, July 10, 1994 ​ John Williams, “Probe of bias and street closings looks at use of federal money,” THE HOUSTON CHRONICLE, December 16, 1994 ​ REPORTS / PAPERS Accessible Rights-of-Way: Sidewalks, street crossings, other pedestrian facilities, U.S. Architectural and Transportation Barriers Compliance Board, U.S. Access Board, November 1999. ​ “All Vehicle VOC and NOX Emission Factors by Speed, Summer and Winter,” graph provided by Ron Severence, Maine Department of Environmental Protection, 1997 ​ An Analysis of Leadership, Politics and Ethics in the Stevens Avenue Traffic Calming Project, Part III, Ethics in the Stevens Avenue Project” by Scott Landry, Scot Mattox, Sara & Celeste Vigor, May 14, 1998 (Graduate paper for Muskie Institute at University of Maine Law School) ​ Boulder Fire Department Master Plan, Kevin Klein for City of Boulder CO, 1996 ​ Building a True Community Final Report, Public Rights-of-Way Access Advisory Committee, U.S. Access Board, January 10, 2001 ​ Deaths Expected from Delayed Emergency Response Due to Neighborhood Traffic Mitigation, Ronald R. Bowman, April 3, 1997 ​ An Evaluation of the Speed Hump Program in the City of Berkeley, October 1997 (Damage to vehicles, impact on ambulance and fire services and people with disabilities.) ​ Guidelines for the Design and Application of Speed Humps, Institute of Transportation Engineers, 1997 ​ The Impacts of Traffic Calming Measures on Vehicle Exhaust Emissions, United Kingdom, Transport Research Laboratory Report 482, PG Boulter, AJ Hickman ​ “Motor-Vehicle-Related Deaths Involving Intoxicated Pedestrians” – United States, 1982—1992,” Morbidity and Mortality Weekly Report, Vol. 43 / No. 14 ​ 911 Emergency Gate Review, Fire Chief Les Tyra, City of Houston Fire Department, November 17, 1998 ​ Possible Neighborhood Traffic Calming Methods, Report to city council of Sunnyvale, CA, February 4, 1997 (Potential liability.) ​ Speed Hump/UC Plan Presentation Outline, draft report, Susan Sanderson, Transportation Planner, City of Berkeley, (Emergency response concerns from proliferation of speed humps. Humps not the tool felt they were.) 1995. ​ Sudden Cardiac Arrest, The American Heart Association, 1996 ​ A Survey of Traffic Calming Practices in the United States, Institute of Urban and Regional Development by Asha Weinstein and Elizabeth Deakin, University of California at Berkeley, March 1998, (Conflict in neighborhoods.) ​ Stevens Avenue Traffic Calming Project, DeLuca-Hoffman Associates Inc., May 27, 1998, Portland, Maine (Increased accidents and pollution from traffic calming project.) ​ Traffic Calming: State of the Practice, Reid Ewing, ITE/FHWA, 1999 ​ Traffic Calming and vehicle emissions: A literature review, Transport Research Laboratory Report 307, United Kingdom, P. G. Boulter and D. C. Webster, 1997 ​ FEDERAL DOCUMENTS Americans with Disabilities Act, Title II, State and Local Government, Justice regulations, 28 CFR, 35.151, “New construction and alterations.” ​ Clean Air Act, EPA, Title 1, Part A, Air Quality and Emission Limits, Sec. 113 Federal Limits ​ Manual on Uniform Traffic Control Devices, Millennium Edition, USDOT/FHWA, 2000 ​ Traffic Safety Facts 2000, National Highway Traffic Safety Administration, USDOT ​ TIME TRIALS “An Analysis of Speed Hump Effects on Response Times,” City of Austin, TX Fire Department, January 20, 1999 ​ “The Effects of Speed Humps and Traffic Circles on Responding Fire-Rescue Apparatus in Montgomery County, Maryland,” Montgomery County Fire and Rescue Commission, August 1997 ​ The Influence of Traffic Calming Devices on Fire Vehicle Travel Times,” Portland Bureau of Fire, Rescue and Emergency Service, January 1996 ​ Memorandum from Nels Tahti, Administrative Analyst, City of Roseville, CA Fire Department (Time trials on streets with series of speed humps), June 4, 1991 ​ LETTERS Letter from Earl Noe, “I have disabled your car … because you have so little regard for laws,” THE BOULDER PLANET, October 9 – 15, 1996 (Opponent of devices has tires slashed.) ​ Letter from Karen Craig, Chair, Commission on Disability, Berkeley CA to Berkeley Mayor and City Council, November 10, 1998 (Problems of the disabled with vertical deflection devices.) ​ Letter from Special Transit of Boulder, CO to Boulder City Council, April 3, 1997 (Problems of disabled riders with vertical and horizontal deflection devices.) ​ Letter from Steven Beningo, Division Transportation Planner, USDOT, to Commissioner John Melrose, Maine DOT, August 13, 1998, (Rescinds funds for Portland’s traffic calming project because of increased emissions.) ​ LEGAL DOCUMENTS Affidavit of Settlement for Permanent Disability for fire fighter, George Gosbee, Montgomery County, MD, 1998 (Settlement of $ 3,000 per month for life for injury sustained when hit speed hump traveling to scene of emergency.) ​ Appellant’s Brief in, Slager v. Duncan and Montgomery County MD to U.S. Court of Appeals, Fourth Circuit (Unpublished opinion, sets no precedent by rules of the court.) ​ Final Judgment, Twelfth Circuit Court of the State of Florida, June 29, 1998 (Judge Robert B. Bennet rules in favor of Windom and Hartenstine of Sarasota, FL) ​ Opinion of Attorney General, State of Maryland, No. 86-021, April 2, 1986 (Potential liability.) ​ Opinion of Thomas R. Powell, Senior Assistant City Attorney, The City of Wichita, KS April 1, 1986 (Potential liability.) ​ OTHER Housing Discrimination Complaint, filed by Calvin Hummer, President, Meadow Walk Town Home Association, Houston TX, May 28, 1997 ​ “The Other Pine Intersections,” Ronald Bowman, 1996 (Graph showing increase in accidents at intersections with traffic circles on Pine St., Boulder CO.) ​ Program Application for CMAQ (Congestion Mitigation and Air Quality) funds from City of Portland, July 1994. (City agrees to remove temporary measures if CMAQ determines emissions are not lowered by project.) ​ VIDEO “Traffic Calming Devices,” 1996, Portland Bureau of Fire, Rescue and Emergency Services, 55 SW Ash St., Portland, OR 97204 POLITICS OF TRAFFIC CALMING PROJECTS By Kathleen Calongne Boulder, CO January 2003 ​ Debate over the installation of traffic calming devices is dividing communities across the United States. Deflection devices, such as speed humps and traffic circles are appearing on streets around the country under the guise of improving safety. To the contrary, research reveals that traffic calming projects are often motivated by individuals in our federal and local governments willing to sacrifice safety in an effort to discourage travel by car. ​ Deflection devices such as speed humps and traffic circles are experimental in the United States. There is no official sanction for their use.[1] The United States Department of Transportation (USDOT) defines traffic calming devices geometric design features of the roadway rather than traffic control devices. The USDOT has established standards for the design and warrants for the recommended use of devices that are approved traffic control devices in the federal Manual on the Uniform Traffic Control Devices (MUTCD).[2] The absence of standards and warrants for the installation of traffic calming devices allows decisions over their placement and design to fall to local governments ​ The USDOT is a well-funded and supported agency of the U.S. government. Emergency rescue services are controlled locally. The imbalance in power has allowed individuals untrained in the fields of emergency rescue and fire suppression to make decisions about the significance of delay to emergency response to the protection of lives and property. Fire chiefs, as city appointees, are being persuaded to accept delays to their tax-funded response services to accommodate city staff and city council members who want to build deflection devices. Central to the debate is whether communities are more in danger from speeding cars or from delays to emergency response. An analysis that compares these risks was developed by Ronald Bowman, a scientist from Boulder, Colorado. The results of the analysis show that residents are in far greater risk from even minor delays to emergency response caused by delay inducing calming devices than from vehicles, speeding or not. ​ Members of city councils and transportation divisions who want to build traffic calming devices use the numbers of devices in other countries as support for their success. They fail to acknowledge the differences in our political systems which have driven devices onto streets in other countries, and the problems experienced in these countries from their long term use. ​ There has never been a democratic process for the installation of calming devices in other countries. In Leicester, England a protest petition of 500 signatures from 700 homes submitted to a local council was insufficient to halt an installation of speed humps.[3] The U.K. Transport Research Laboratory (TRL) which developed the design for the speed “hump” (in contrast to the speed “bump”) softened its support for the device in 1999. Responding to complaints of excessive noise, foundation-damaging vibrations, increased vehicle emissions, complaints from people with disabilities and increase in cyclist and motorcycle accidents, they now recommend road authorities consider other solutions to slow traffic.[4] Councils around England are to spend millions of English pounds either lowering or removing humps to adhere to new disability regulations for lower bus floors to allow wheelchair access into buses.[5] Sigurd Reinton, Chairman of London Ambulance Service, states speed humps are killing hundreds of Londoners each year by delaying 999 crews. He states ambulances must slow almost to a “walking pace, or slower” when carrying an injured patient and the twenty to thirty thousand speed humps, plus the thousands of chicanes, ramps and barriers have resulted in some of the lowest survival rates for Londoners who suffer cardiac arrest.[6] In Australia, complaints from drivers and passengers of buses prompted the state office in charge of administering the Occupational Health and Safety Act to re-route the buses.[7] The Canadian Safety Council published opposition to the use of all devices that delay emergency response after devices used to block access to a street hindered the rescue of twelve people caught in a fire.[8] The Ontario, Canada Professional Fire Fighters Association joined other rescue provider unions in opposing deflection devices because of delays as well as injuries to fire fighters.[9] Injuries, including vertebral compression, are occurring to firefighters in the U.S. as well. At least two of these injuries have resulted in permanent disability.[10] ​ Devices designed to impose deflection on vehicles and vehicle passengers raise legal and ethical questions. Drivers in the United States have lost control over the devices, landing them in hospitals. Devices are damaging vehicles, increasing pollution,[11] increasing gas consumption and injuring persons with disabilities. The Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) guarantees disabled persons equal access to public facilities. The Department of Justice regulations for Title II of the ADA defines “facility” to include “roads.” There are no studies showing deflection devices are safe for disabled occupants of vehicles. Federal agencies responsible for enforcing the ADA have received significant testimony from persons with disabilities who describe injury and lasting pain from deflection devices.[12] Some devices have been removed because of problems experienced by disabled people.[13] ​ The legal system of the United States guarantees a higher level of protection for the individual than the systems of other countries. A commercial product known to have a fraction of the risks identified with speed humps and other deflection devices would not be allowed on the American market. There is sufficient data to make installation of vertical deflection devices on public streets illegal. If the USDOT does not acknowledge the dangers associated with these experimental devices, it is likely our courts will. ​ Lauding the use of “low-tech” devices as a magic bullet to control vehicle speeds is a short-sighted and irresponsible use of taxpayer dollars. High-tech “active suspension systems” that counter the effects of deflection are already available in top-of-the line luxury cars. Less expensive systems are being designed that will eventually allow most cars to travel smoothly over the devices.[14] ​ The problem of traffic and speeding in our communities is purported to be a livability issue in traffic calming literature. However, people are extremely divided about whether deflection devices increase or decrease livability. Projects proceed largely because their processes are biased toward those who want the devices. Residents downstream from the devices, whose emergency response will also be affected by an installation and who must also travel over the devices daily to reach their homes, are eliminated from the process. Once a project begins, the devices proliferate at alarming speed, as residents on parallel streets attempt to protect themselves from the diversion of traffic which always accompanies an installation. As a result, projects typically end in full or partial moratorium. ​ People around the country are calling for an end to the installation of all deflection devices that impede emergency services, harm residents with disabilities, damage vehicles and increase pollution and disharmony in our communities. A truly independent and scientific cost/benefit analysis of the data available on the issue from this country and abroad should be conducted by an agency of the U.S. government to determine which, if any, devices can be safely used in our communities and what standards for the design and placement of the devices must be required of our local governments. ​ A cost/benefit analysis should include an assessment of the following: Risk to resident lives from delays to emergency response, using the analysis developed by scientist, Ronald Bowman of Boulder, Colorado Effect on driver, motorcyclist, bicyclist and pedestrian safety Potential effects on patients with varying medical conditions transported to local hospitals by emergency vehicles Effect on disabled drivers Damage to emergency vehicles and commercial vehicles as well as damage to sensitive equipment transported by such vehicles Increased auto emissions and fuel consumption from repeated deceleration and acceleration to negotiate devices Increased noise on residential streets Decreased property values on residential blocks where speed humps installed Potential legal liability to cities for injuries caused by foreseeable hazards related to placement of obstructions on public streets Impact of conflict over desirability of devices on the harmony of American neighborhoods ​ ​ The political movement behind building traffic calming devices in communities across the United States should be of immediate concern to our federal government. Lacking investigation, the political agendas of individuals in our local and federal governments will continue to suppress all meaningful consideration of the impact of traffic calming projects on the safety and well being of our communities. ​ Kathleen Calongne [1] Traffic Calming: State of the Practice, ITE/FHWA, Reid Ewing, 1999, pp. 13 - 14 [2] Manual on the Uniform Traffic Control Devices, Millennium Edition, USDOT/FHWA, 2000 [3] “Council Jumps the Gun,” Claire Jones, LEICESTER MERCURY, Feb. 6, 1999 [4] “Road humps can damage houses,” Transport Correspondent, THE SUNDAY TIMES, London, 12/28/97 [5] “Councils to spend millions lowering road humps,” David Bamber, ELECTRONIC TELEGRAPH, 2/27/00 [6] “999 patients ‘killed by speed bumps’,” Joe Murphey, THE EVENING STANDARD, London, 01/27/03 [7] “Public transport and emergency services: problems caused by traffic calming,” TRL Report #307, Webster and Boulter, 1998 [8] “We told you so – Traffic Calming Jeopardizes Public Safety,” Canada Safety Council, News Release, July 16, 1999 [9] “Traffic Calming Devices, Why firefighters have given them a rough ride,” IAFF (International Association of Firefighters) Canadian Journal, January 2000 [10] “Traffic Calming Programs and Emergency Response,” Les Bunte, Assistant Fire Chief Austin TX,May 2000 [11] Traffic Calming and Vehicle Emissions: A literature review, TRL (Transport Research Laboratory) Report 307, United Kingdom, P.G. Boulter and D.C. Webster, 1997 [12] Building a True Community, Final Report, U.S. Access Board, Public Rights-of-Way Access Advisory Committee, January 2001 [13] “Disabled woman wins fight to remove speed humps on her street, ” Kristen Green, THE SAN DIEGO UNION TRIBUNE, May 12, 2000 [14] “Chips in Charge,” Ivan Amato, DISCOVER MAGAZINE, December 1999 More evidence from the USA is in the following article published in July 2006 on speed humps in the cities of Oakland and Portland: Speed-Humps-Oakland-and-Portland. Back to Speed Humps Main Page ​

  • SPEED HUMPS FOUR HILLS | Freedom for Drivers Foundation

    SPEED HUMPS - FOUR HILLS STUDY The Four Hills Speed Hump Study ​ In 2007 Michael J. Cunneen published a study of the impact of speed humps in the Four Hills area of Albuquerque, New Mexico. The full report is available below. One of the most interesting aspects of this report is that it includes one of the largest studies of the accident figures before and after the installation of speed humps in 93 street sections in Albuquerque. Over 1,100 accidents had occurred in these streets in the two years before and after speed hump installation. From this large sample, it was found that the aggregate accident rate for all accidents and for injury accidents had declined between 6-7%. But as the report suggests that the overall trend accident rate reduction in New Mexico was 1.7% per year, the net benefit allowing for that "control group" is therefore 6.8% less the 3.4% (over 2 years) giving a net benefit of only 3.4%. ​ This is obviously much less than the claims made by many people for the effectiveness of speed humps at reducing accidents. In addition the report demonstrates that the fatal accidents saved by speed humps are likely to be less than the increase in deaths caused by delays to emergency service vehicles. ​ A summary of the report is given below.. ​ The full report is contained in FourHillsReport and in FourHillTechAppx . ​ Note there are a few points worth making on this report, as even the 3.4% improvement is questionable. The report data is based on 2 years before and after as that was all the data that was available but that is a relatively short period. In the UK it is normal to use 3 years before and after as the normal basis for comparison. The reason is because in the first year after making any changes to a road layout, the accidents tend to fall. When drivers, who may only use the road occasionally, notice it has changed, they take extra care and drive more slowly. This effect wears off after a few months, but it has a big impact on the first year post the change. ​ Another problem is that it is very common for other changes to be made when humps are installed - for example improved signage (even extra warning signs), repainted road markings, new kerb alignments, etc. So the alleged benefit of 3.4% could be due to other reasons - and signs alone can have that size of effect. ​ A third possible explanation is a "Hawthorne" effect known from industrial physchology, where if you experiment on humans and suggest there will be a benefit, then you will end up seeing one. Unfortunately human behaviour, and reporting of accidents, is subject to unconscious biases that distort the results. ​ Summary of Four Hills Speed Hump Study This was an independent study commissioned by the City Council of Albuquerque, New Mexico in 2007 to investigate installed the efficacy of speed humps installed along two major streets and to recommend alternatives. The neighborhood containing the speed humps was Four Hills Village, an outlying suburban, residential district at the city’s southeast corner. The City Counselor for the neighborhood was Don Harris and the consultant retained was Michael J. Cunneen. ​ The study found little need for the speed humps as traffic accidents in the affected roadway sections had been declining and averaged only 0.5 accidents per year since 2001. Less than 20% of the traffic 1990-2005 accidents involved injuries, all of them minor while less than 20% involved either “excessive speed” or speed “too fast for conditions” as one of the highest contributing factors causing the accidents. The accidents which had occurred were predominantly concentrated in two curve sections. ​ The study also examined speed hump results generally in Albuquerque, focusing on 93 street sections on which over 1,100 accidents had occurred in two years before and after speed hump installation. From this large sample, it was found that the aggregate accident rate for all accidents and for injury accidents had declined between 6-7%. Overall, volumes on streets with speed humps declined 7.5% as drivers diverted to other routes while average speeds declined about 11.5%. The small sample of pedestrian accidents actually rose from 6 to 10. Accident rates only declined on a minority of streets; in most cases they remained the same or increased slightly. A high proportion of speed humps had been installed where average speeds were only 25 miles per hour or less. Another major finding, drawn from City data covering all speed hump installations, was made significant declines in 85th percentile speeds tended to occur only where “before” speeds were above 30 miles per hour. Below 27 miles per hour, City data showed these speeds actually had increased after humps were installed. ​ Even assuming a 10% decrease in accidents attributable to speed humps, the study found that over 50 years only 3.4 injuries and 0.024 deaths would likely be prevented by the humps. On the other hand, delays to emergency service vehicles, even at only four seconds per speed hump, were estimated to cause several additional fatalities due to cardiac arrest over 50 years, many times higher than the lives that might be saved by the speed humps. This is because cardiac arrest requires rapid treatment; the likelihood of survival diminishes rapidly after five minutes and a delay of even a fraction of a minute significantly decreases the chances of surviving. ​ The consultant recommended removing most of the speed humps, retaining a few in the two sections where most accidents had occurred. He further recommended the use of optical speed bars and the installation of median islands and bulb-outs (neckdowns or chokers) to slow traffic without impeding emergency vehicle movement. Re-striping and better delineation at curves were recommended as well. In examining City speed data, the consultant found that re-striping had caused a slight decline in speed even where traffic was already moving at about the speed limit. He also found a positive “shadow effect” that speed humps had up to 3,300 feet away, in slowing traffic. City speed surveys showed that after speed hump installation, speeds dropped 2-11% at sites located 1,500 to 3,500 feet away from the nearest speed hump. This suggested that spacing between humps need not be so close and that fewer humps were necessary. Guidelines were recommended that would ban speed humps where volumes are less than 500 vehicles a day or greater than 3,500 vehicles a day or on collector or primary emergency response routes or where 85th percentile speeds do not exceed 30 miles per hour. ​ Postscript: On the 18 September 2007 a bill was passed by Albuquerque City Council with a unanimous vote to implement the recommendations contained in the report mentioned above. Back to Speed Humps Main Page ​ ​

  • SPEED HUMPS | Freedom for Drivers Foundation

    SPEED HUMPS (AND SPEED BUMPS) The following information on speed humps, a very painful and ineffective solution to the problems of excessive vehicle speeds, was acquired by Roger Lawson when he was running a campaign against them in the London Borough of Bromley. He is happy to advise anyone on this subject - use the Contact page to get in touch. This and the linked pages probably contain the most comprehensive analysis on the internet of the problems caused by speed humps. Speed humps (sometimes known as bumps), are a very painful approach to road safety and there is widespread opposition to their use. For example a group of local residents decided to oppose the traffic calming scheme installed in Watts Lane/Manor Park Road in Chislehurst (Bromley). In this case there was little need for an aggressive approach to speed in the road, as there were very few accidents anyway. This road was used as a local distributor route (in fact previously it had been classified as a "B" road) and there were few alternative routes that traffic could take. ​ What are the objections to speed humps? 1. They are uncomfortable, or indeed painful to many people. As Transport Research Laboratory Report 417 makes clear, speed humps only work when they are uncomfortable. Unfortunately, many people who suffer from medical conditions such as back problems (one of the most common medical complaints), recent abdominal surgery or other disabilities find them extremely painful. For more information and reported experiences of medical problems go to Speed Humps and Medical Conditions . ​ 2. They are a very blunt instrument. In fact, different vehicles respond very differently with heavy vehicles such as HGVs, buses and other public service vehicles being particularly prone to discomfort unless humps are traversed at very low speeds. It is simply impossible to design a speed hump that is negotiable comfortably at a reasonable speed by all vehicles and which is not painful to the occupants. Many bus operators object to humps because of complaints from their drivers and passengers, and also because of damage to their vehicles. As a result, it is generally recommended that only “cushions” that buses can straddle are used on bus routes, but that is not a panacea because vehicles parked on the route often force bus drivers over humps. ​ 3. Speed humps have been known to cause accidents and injuries. For example, there was the case of the motorcyclist who hit a speed hump in Wood Lane, Isleworth in 2001 at much less than 30 mph. He was ejected from the bike and suffered serious injuries from which he is now paralyzed from the waist down. Several cases of broken backs have been reported in Scandinavia, including one in Norway where a bus passenger was injured when the bus went over a speed hump which was hidden by snow. A similar example was that of Neil Price of Kendal, Cumbria who was riding in the back of a bus when it went over a speed hump - the result was two broken vertebrae and spinal damage resulting in paralysis. Another case was in the London Borough of Sutton in 2004 where a police car spun off the road and hit a tree injuring PC Stephen Poole who had to be rescued from the smoke-filled vehicle by a colleague, after it hit a speed hump. The Daily Telegraph published two letters on 18/3/2006 giving the following examples: A speed hump was installed in Swindon outside a fire station in the early 1970s. Within a few days a woman cyclist rode out of the station, turned left and struck the hump at an angle. She fell off and was killed by a passing motor vehicle. A speed hump was also installed at Guys Hospital in the 1980s. Soon after an accident victim with spinal injuries was being brought to the hospital via ambulance. When it crossed the hump, the result was a complete spinal cord injury and the patient was left as a permanent paraplegic. In both cases the humps were removed soon afterwards. A similar case was reported to the letter to the Daily Telegraph on 17/6/2006 when "K.P." said that his father, a retired policeman, drove over a road hump quite slowly in the East Midlands and his neck was broken - he spent the rest of his life paralysed. ​ There are also the examples of Anja Szkodowski in Bromley who was severely injured in 2005 as a direct result of hitting a speed cushion while cycling (see: Old-Hill-Accident ) and of entrepreneur Richard Branson in 2016 which is documented on our blog here: Branson Accident ​ 4. They frequently cause damage to vehicles. Even at normal speed levels vehicles can be damaged by humps, but it is legally very difficult to make a claim against a local authority as a result. This problem particularly affects older, heavier vehicles or those with low ground clearance. In addition there is the concern that they cause damage to tyres which can result in catastrophic failure of the side walls at high speed (what is commonly known as a "blow-out") - unfortunately of course such incidents typically take place some time later and after accumulative damage from humps so it is impossible to attribute them to particular humps at particular times, but it is alleged that this kind of damage is becoming much more common. ​ 5. Speed humps cause atmospheric pollution and noise. This arises from the speeding up and slowing down of traffic between the humps (see TRL report No.482 on this subject). For example, TRL reports a 59% increase in CO, about 50% increase in HC and about 25% in CO2 from petrol catalyst vehicles averaged over all types of traffic calming measures, with even higher numbers over more "severe" measures such as speed bumps. In addition the use of bumps and cushions seems to encourage the use of larger vehicles which are more polluting. ​ In January 2008, research commissioned by the AA showed that speed humps cause fuel consumption to rise substantially. Researchers at the Millbrook Proving Ground found that while a car capable of over 58 mpg when driven at a steady 30 mph, delivered only 31 mpg when it had to slow down to negotiate speed humps and then speed up again. Carbon dioxide emissions changed similarly in proportion. The AA claims that this research backs up the reports previously published by TRL which showed carbon monoxide emissions increased by as much as 82% and nitrous oxides levels by 37% on roads with speed humps. AA president Edmund King said “Humps are a crude, uncomfortable and noisy way of slowing people down and this research has shown they are also environmentally damaging”. ​ As confirmation for the above a study in 2016 by Imperial College, London also found high levels of pollution from road humps – indeed higher than from other forms of traffic calming (see the Daily Telegraph on the 11/6/2016 for a fuller report on this). For example they got 47% more particulates and 64% more NO2 from a petrol car when driven over humps, and even higher figures for diesel cars. ​ It is also alleged that speed humps increase metallic air pollution particles by up to three times resulting in lowered resistance to coughs and colds - see this article published in 2020: London-Throat. ​ Humps can also cause increased noise from heavy vehicles, and in extreme cases, subsidence of the road and buildings alongside due to the ground pressure waves that are created. For more information on the latter, see: Speed Humps-Vibration-Noise . 6. Speed humps are a major problem for emergency vehicles. Ambulances and fire engines suffer difficulties from speed humps. Apart from the major discomfort to ambulance passengers, they also delay response times substantially. This can be as much as 10 seconds per device, and in a study done in the USA it was calculated that more deaths would arise from delayed arrival of ambulances than could ever be saved by any possible accident reduction. For more information on this, go to the following page: Speed-Humps-Ambulances . For more information on the impact of traffic calming devices on emergency services, it is worth studying a presentation by former fire chief Les Bunte that was given to the 2006 American Dream Coalition conference in Atlanta: Bunte-Traffic-Calming . Also look at the Four Hills Study mentioned below for calculations on a specific scheme. ​ 7. Speed humps create additional road maintenance costs. This is because the road surface before and after a hump tends to develop potholes after a couple of years. This results in much heavier maintenance costs than normal. In addition to fully resurface the road it is often necessary to remove and replace the speed humps, which also adds to the cost. ​ 8. Do speed humps actually reduce accidents? In reality there is very little evidence to support this. Where accident reductions have occurred it can mainly be attributed to diverting traffic (which can be as high as 50%). Most accidents are not caused by speed but by careless driving, or a multitude of other factors that are not affected by speed humps. In London where over the last few years there has been a lot of expenditure on speed humps in some boroughs, there is no correlation between high expenditure on humps and accident reduction, i.e. the boroughs who spent money on other road safety measures did as well or better in accident reduction. Speed humps are a very poor accident prevention mechanism in terms of cost effectiveness, in comparison with other possible accident prevention approaches. For some real data on the effect of speed humps on accidents in a road in the London Borough of Bromley, go to this page: Speed-Humps-Effects . Another very useful study was by Michael J. Cunneen of the impact of speed humps in Albuquerque which is available on this page: Four-Hills-Study . Both these reports suggest that any beneficial impact is less than 5% and may actually be non-existent. ​ 9. Main types of humps. The main types of speed humps are round or sinuisoidal humps, cushions, or speed tables. These are shown in the photographs below. 10. Common questions and answers on speed humps in the UK: A. Do road users have to be consulted on their installation? For a traffic calming scheme, road users, or bodies that are known to represent them legally have to be consulted. In addition, details would normally be published in a local paper (that which is used to publish public notices). There will usually be small signs placed on the street and a consultation leaflet circulated to local residents. However, it is quite likely that most road users will not be aware of such notices. In reality, the views of local residents may take priority over road users - indeed road users views are likely to be ignored. Surely what matters is the good of the community as a whole. For individual humps or speed tables, there are no legal obligations for consultation. ​ B. What are the regulations on hump size and spacing? Most speed humps are now constructed to be 75 mm high, although legally they can be higher. There are also government guidelines on the shapes of humps and their spacing. Go to the following page for full details on the legal background to speed humps and traffic calming: Legal-Basis-Traffic-Calming . ​ C. Is reducing the number of humps by increased spacing a good idea? No. Increasing the spacing simply causes vehicles to speed up and slow down in between them. D. What do they cost? About £2,000 upwards for a speed hump, and maybe £10,000 for speed tables which are more complex and larger. A typical traffic calming scheme can easily cost £100,000 in a fairly short stretch of road. ​ E. Why are speed tables or cushions used sometimes? Speed tables are used at junctions (a hump cannot normally be near a junction) or under zebra crossings or mini-roundabouts. Cushions (a euphemism for split humps) are used where buses or other PSVs are likely to use the route (speed humps are simply too uncomfortable) - such vehicles can in theory straddle a cushion, but in reality often the presence of parked cars alongside stops this. Also, the use of three across cushions which is quite common on wider roads encourages people to drive down the centre of the road, which is dangerous. Cushions are good in theory, but bad in practice. ​ F. Are there alternatives to using speed humps to cut dangerous traffic speeds, e.g. near known hazards? Yes. At junctions (which are often the location of many accidents), mini-roundabouts or speed tables can be used. The former do tend to result in minor vehicle damage accidents however. The latter can be more comfortable than speed humps, but still very effective at cutting speeds. One very effective and relatively low cost approach is the use of speed display devices or variable message signs (ones that display a vehicles speed and remind the driver if they are over the speed limit, or warn of particular hazards). Other alternatives are improved signage (e.g. hazard warning signs, speed limit repeaters, "slow" signs), "gateway" treatments of various kinds including width restrictions, rumble strips, and other devices. As to which is most appropriate depends on the nature of the road and the hazards present in it. In fact, it is usually cheaper and more effective to make minor changes to road markings, curb lines, improve sight lines and signage to tackle particular road safety problems, although unfortunately putting in speed bumps is often seen as a cheaper and simpler option (they require less thought) than really tackling the source of accidents in a proper manner. ​ G. Why do local residents sometimes vote for speed humps? Firstly because the council normally doesn't offer them any alternatives. Secondly because of the selfish desire to encourage traffic to divert elsewhere, which results in someone else suffering from the noise and pollution. ​ H. Are speed cameras an alternative to speed humps? In most cases no. Speed cameras are very expensive (up to £50,000 each) but are also only effective on a very short stretch of road - people quickly learn where they are, slow down before and speed up afterwards. Therefore, they are best positioned at accident black spots. Obviously the "running" costs of a speed camera are also much higher. Speed display devices are generally more effective and lower cost than speed cameras and are therefore always a better alternative. ​ I. Who pays for them? A silly question - you do of course, out of taxes. However sometimes, they are funded not from local council budgets but from funds provided by other bodies (e.g. Transport for London in London - a part of the GLA which is partly funded by local London councils and from central government funds). ​ J. What is the experience in other countries? For information on the legal status and objections to speed humps in the USA, go to Speed-Humps-USA . Summary. For a more extensive discussion of the subject of speed humps, click on the following: Objections-to-Speed-Humps , which is a pdf document which was submitted to the Greater London Authority Transport Committee Inquiry in October 2003. For a report submitted to the same Inquiry by the London Ambulance Service go to LAS-Report . ​ In 2008, a petition was launched to remove speed humps from Watts Lane and Manor Park Road in Chislehurst (London Borough of Bromley) - installation of humps on that road prompted the research documented on this web page. See Speed-Hump-Petition . The results of the petition demonstrate how most members of the public oppose the use of humps. ​ Note that the London Borough of Bromley adopted a policy that stopped the installation of more speed humps which can be recommended to all local authorities. This policy was “a preference for non-vertical deflection traffic calming schemes”, i.e. anything but speed humps (this avoids the legal problem with an absolute prohibition). ​ ​ Back to Resources

  • MTS UPDATES | Freedom for Drivers Foundation

    MTS UPDATES You can register your support for the campaign against the Mayor’s Transport Strategy including Low Traffic Neighbourhoods and the ULEZ and receive more information and news updates by completing the form below. Please refer to the Contact page if you have any questions. Note that our Privacy Policy covers what we will do with personal information submitted on the form below. Our Privacy Policy is defined in our Legal Terms and Conditions .

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