Thurrock Council as the Highway Authority is responsible for the provision, installation and maintenance of speed control measures and all associated signage within the public highway.
Road humps are an extremely effective means of controlling vehicle speeds and have been used extensively throughout the borough as a measure to decrease the numbers of personal injury accidents at identified sites in line with the Government's road safety strategy to reduce the number of road traffic accidents nationally by 40% by the year 2010. Their effectiveness relies on creating a vertical deflection to vehicles as they pass over them, which in turn transmits discomfort to the drivers and other vehicle occupants. For this reason alone they may not always be popular with the very people who would gain from reduced traffic speeds.
They are also used in 20mph zones to encourage self-enforcement of the reduced speed limit.
The Engineering Services Traffic Section has used road humps/cushions in 20mph zones in the vicinity of schools and other suitable residential areas. In these zones we have found that they can discourage through traffic as a result of the traffic calming measures. There has been a significant reduction in the number of personal injury accidents within our 20mph zones.
When considering the introduction of traffic calming measures the Council investigates the cause of road traffic accidents and the factors which may have affected driver behaviour. Once these factors have been considered we make a balanced engineering judgement as to how we may be able to design out these accidents using various traffic calming tools at our disposal.
For example, we do not exclusively look at introducing road humps; we may well consider alternative solutions such as mini roundabouts, coloured surfacing, signing, chicanes etc.
Public consultation is always a priority to seek the views of residents and is carried out at feasibility and detailed design stages with the view of preparing traffic calming measures which are accepted by all the interested parties.
In order to maintain continuity, road humps are designed in line with national standards recommended by The Department for Transport (DfT). The shape of speed control humps/cushions can have either flat tops or round tops and will generally be between 50 mm and 100 mm high. Humps extend across the full width of road whereas cushions allow vehicles to straddle them.
Thurrock has generally adopted the 75mm high speed hump and speed cushion as a standard and this has been found to be effective in reducing traffic speeds to approximately 20mph.
Speed control humps can lead to complaints about increased noise and sometimes increased vibration from traffic. They have however been proven to reduce injuries caused by road traffic accidents and traffic speed and they have been installed in many locations.
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