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Basis, principles and measures for traffic calming and street enhancement (VSS1996/033)

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Background & Policy context

Traffic calming is a concept that has evolved considerably over the past decade. It reflects not only the need to reduce the perverse effects of the explosion of the engine, but also the desire for a better compatibility between safety and flow of traffic, environmental protection and maintenance of the built environment. Numerous experiments in Switzerland and abroad show that traffic calming measures, as defined in the standards VSS in force, no longer meet that part of current knowledge and requirements.

The search for appropriate solutions must now be based on a comprehensive approach that incorporates the definition of the requirements for achieving the agreed goals moderation traffic and enhancement of road space. Such an approach therefore requires the use of an expanded reference framework establishing the principles, criteria and requirements to be observed for the choice and the section measures.


The research project is to establish a concept of integration in the VSS standards different requirements and bases to be taken into account when studying traffic calming projects and upgrading of road space. This concept is based on a synthesis and development experience and current knowledge of constructive measures for traffic calming and recovery of road space. The research should enable revise and supplement the existing standards of VSS on traffic calming.


The research develops a functional approach of how to meet the requirements on the allocation of road space from the point of view of the conditions prevailing in Switzerland. This approach is largely based on the model of German recognized recommendations (EAHV, EAE, GSS). The research also defines a framework laying down the bases, principles, means and measures of road space planning not only to clarify and structure a multitude of interdependencies but also raise various ambiguities encountered in practice on typology and fields of application of the various management measures of road space. The research also confirms the relevance of the range of traffic calming means, as they were already set in 1985.

VSS standards in this context, it includes an opening of the range of traffic calming measures, as it leads to an improvement in the definition of scopes and conditions of use of traffic calming measures and improvement of road space.


Parent Programmes
Institution Type
Public institution
Institution Name
Swiss Government: State Secretariat for Education and Research
Type of funding
Public (national/regional/local)


The research work produced the following results:

  • VSS draft standard SN640211 Street-space design - Basis (standard published in August 2000) 
  • VSS draft standard SN 640212 Street-space design - Streetscaping elements (standard published in August 2000)
  • VSS  draft standard SN 640213 Street-space design - Traffic calming elements (published in August 2000)

The research results lead to the following findings and conclusions:

  • The evaluation of published material indicates that the range of principles, means and measures for traffic calming has not changed fundamentally since traffic calming and streetscaping emerged as issues in the mid 1980s.  There has however been significant progress in the development of integrated approaches to the treatment of street spaces. Within this context, the research proposes and develops a functional approach aimed at showing how to satisfy the various usage demands on street space in the light of the conditions prevailing in Switzerland.
  • The research has lead to the development of a standardized reference framework which sets out the basis, principles, means and measures for designing street space.
  • The research confirms the validity of the range of traffic calming elements already set out in the 1985 by VSS standards.


Lead Organisation
EU Contribution
Partner Organisations
EU Contribution


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