Knox County Tennessee

Traffic Calming

"Traffic calming is the combination of mainly physical measures that reduce the negative effects of motor vehicle use, alter driver behavior and improve conditions for non-motorized street users."
ITE Journal, July 1997

Traffic calming is an effort to change driver actions by self-enforcing physical measures: vertical deflections such as speed humps, speed tables and raised intersections; horizontal shifts in the travel path using traffic circles or chicane layouts. These physical measures are in place continuously, and unlike signs, pavement markings and traffic signals, they do not require enforcement to make them effective. For more information on traffic calming, see

Traffic calming is a relatively recent engineering tool in the United States, but its application has grown particularly in residential neighborhoods where residents have sought to create a more livable environment. Knox County’s Department of Engineering and Public Works implemented its traffic calming program in 2000 in response to requests from neighborhoods where speeding and cut-through traffic were concerns.

Most of the traffic calming requests our department receives are from existing residential subdivisions where the right-of-way and pavement limits are established. Speed humps are the most cost-effective traffic calming tool available as no additional right-of-way or easements are necessary to construct them. While Knox County’s Department of Engineering and Public Works administers the program and provides guidance and technical assistance, the subdivision property owners decide whether traffic calming is appropriate for their streets.

If you would like to consider the traffic calming process for your neighborhood, please review the Traffic Calming Packet. It includes information on getting started, a “Subdivision Traffic Calming Application Form”, a list of steps detailing our traffic calming procedure, and an illustration of a typical speed hump installation.

Thank you for your interest in this program.