City advises residents of process for approving traffic calming measures

The City of Cape Town’s Transport Department receives numerous applications every month requesting traffic calming measures in particular areas. These requests are subject to a decision-making process which is governed by the City’s Traffic Calming Policy.

The policy promotes the use of traffic calming measures where the threat to safety on residential streets is unacceptably high. Particular emphasis is placed on the safety of pedestrians and cyclists, especially around public amenities e.g. crèches, schools, libraries, clinics, sport stadiums etc, in residential areas.

The policy also aims to maintain a balance between effective law enforcement and the use of engineering measures to control speed. While engineering measures such as speed humps do force drivers to slow down in specific places, they do not alter the general behaviour of drivers.

A four-step administrative process guides the approval and installation of any traffic calming measure:

Step 1: Any member of the public can request a traffic calming measure. They should submit this request to their local Sub-Council Manager.

Step 2: The Sub-Council will appoint a Councillor to screen the request, in accordance with the City’s Remedial Engineering Measures Programme guidelines. Residents in the area who are affected by the installation of the traffic calming measure will be properly consulted before any work is undertaken. However, if a traffic calming measure is proposed near a public amenity, the surrounding neighbours may be consulted, but their consent will not be necessary for approval.

Step 3: The Councillor will submit the screening assessment to the Sub-Council which will in turn request the City’s Transport Department to conduct a technical assessment. The technical assessment considers a range of safety criteria and is designed to determine the overall risk of accidents on a street. The Department will liaise with the Councillor where necessary in order to obtain all relevant information.

Step 4: The Transport Department will submit a technical assessment report to the Sub-Council for decision in terms of the Traffic Calming Policy. If the Sub-Council approves the measure, the Transport Department will add the project to a schedule of approved projects awaiting funding for implementation. Before it can be installed, the traffic calming measure must be designed and the tender process finalised to appoint a contractor. The contractor will then begin work.

The Transport Department does prioritise certain projects if a high risk has been identified. For example, vulnerable road users such as pedestrians, learners, cyclists and the elderly are at risk in areas surrounding public amenities.

The following factors are taken into account when prioritising approved projects for implementation:

  • The proximity to public amenities (crèches, schools, libraries, clinics, sport stadiums, public transport interchanges and municipal cash halls)
  • The tendency for excessive speeding in the area
  • The presence of excessive traffic in the area
  • The project’s status in terms of the area’s traffic management plan


There are various traffic calming measures available and the City does its best to minimise risk by using measures which are technically appropriate for a particular area. When an application is in its technical assessment stage, the Transport Department undertakes an investigation to determine the most suitable traffic calming measure for the area. This may include the installation of speed bumps, traffic circles, raised pedestrian crossings, or the erection of additional warning signage.

“The City must undergo this lengthy, but necessary four-step process before any traffic calming measure can be installed. It is imperative that we comply with the policy when installing calming measures, because ultimately we must be sure that the measures are serving a useful purpose, and not acting as a hindrance to other road users. When public safety is concerned – as it is here – the processes are often quite involved, but for a good reason.

I hope that the public can understand that what they may perceive as delays are in fact just steps in the normal process,” said the City’s Mayoral Committee Member for Transport, Roads and Major Projects, Councillor Elizabeth Thompson.




Issued by: Communication Department, City of Cape Town


Media enquiries: Sean Glass, Head: Transport Network Development, City of Cape Town, Tel: 021 812 4409 or Cell: 084 222 1311