Residential Traffic Calming

Speeding and unsafe driving practices on residential streets are a continuing concern to County residents and to the government agencies charged with ensuring traffic safety. Excessive speeds jeopardize both the safety and "livability" of our neighborhoods. The Montgomery County Department of Transportation (MCDOT) and the Department of Police have cooperatively implemented a comprehensive residential speed control program which enlists community residents in helping to solve the speeding problem and improve the residential environment. The program includes the three components necessary to successfully reduce speeding:  education, engineering and enforcement.

MCDOT and the police provide traffic safety services for over 1600 miles of residential streets. In order to provide the most effective service for these streets given resources, we have developed a triage system for addressing excessive speed on residential streets:

Low Volume Local Residential Streets
For local residential streets that are not "thru" or collector routes  and/or where volumes are low (less than 1,000 cars per day), an  education strategy is recommended. These streets would have a low priority for enhanced police enforcement and would generally not be eligible for installation of physical speed restraint devices.

Residents may request deployment of our SMART unit (Speed Monitoring Awareness Radar Trailer) to assist in educating motorists as to the speed that they are traveling on neighborhood streets. MCDOT will deploy this unit on Secondary and Primary Residential roads and occasionally on two lane Arterial roads upon request. The request will be fulfilled on a first come first served basis. This unit will be placed on the roadway for a period of a maximum of five (5) days, Monday through Friday. Residents may request for a repeat schedule after three months as weather and scheduling permits. It is our policy not to deploy the SMART unit on weekends, holidays and from December 15th through January 2nd. 

In order to deploy the SMART unit the request street

  • should be at least a 1000 ft long neighborhood street
  • must have a safe place to park the SMART unit
  • must have a clear section of roadway where the unit is visible to oncoming cars

Please note that this unit is not capable of recording data and requires clear sight lines and a level surface to deploy.

Moderate Volume Collector Streets
For residential streets that serve as "thru" or collector routes for the neighborhood  and/or where volumes are moderate (1,000 to 4,000 vehicles per day), an  education and engineering strategy will be applied. Where specific safety problems are identified by MCDOT or the police, enforcement may be enhanced.

Residents may request deployment of our S.M.A.R.T. unit as described above.

MCDOT will conduct a speed study to determine if speed and volume criteria are satisfied for consideration of engineering based counter measures. If excessive speeds are verified, MCDOT will work with the neighborhood to develop a  traffic calming plan. The plan could include  speed humps, small traffic circles, or other traffic control devices. Resident concurrence and citizen association endorsement will be required prior to implementation of a plan.

Higher Volume Collector Streets
On higher volume (more than 4000 cars per day) residential streets, a combination of  education, engineering and enforcement strategies will be used to reduce speeding. 

MCDOT will conduct speed studies and an engineering evaluation to determine whether  traffic calming devices or other  traffic safety measures are justified. Resident and citizen association input will be used to develop a plan.

Enforcement will be enhanced in coordination with the above actions and where specific safety problems are identified. On residential streets classified as  arterials in the Master Plan, traffic calming measures will not be installed which are inconsistent with the efficient movement of traffic or which interfere with the movement of emergency vehicles. Thus,  speed humps will not be installed on arterial streets.