Petersfield, Hampshire (Traffic Calming)

Region: South East

Local Authority: East Hampshire

Year of Intervention: 1992 - 2003

Summary: Traffic calming was recognised as one of the necessary tools to restore the sense of place to the town which has a special historic character.

Description: Many standard traffic calming solutions have had an adverse visual effect on the street environment and damaged the character of the street and the built environment. Pedestrian accessibility is essential to the success of our towns and villages, and the considered use of traffic calming techniques can enable designers to address this by slowing down traffic and improving the quality of life for pedestrians using the streets. 

Increasing traffic volumes are putting pressure on many roads and streets throughout the country, many of which were never designed for such use. Historic areas in particular are more sensitive to high vehicle speeds and volumes and need careful consideration of ways of calming the traffic.

Petersfield provides examples of traffic calming solutions to remedy high speed traffic levels and develop a pedestrian focussed environment. The improvements were implemented over a 10 year period and the first element was included in the Department of Transport Bypass Demonstration Project in 1992 and was one of six towns nationwide.  Subsequent improvement schemes to Dragon Street occurred in 1995, College Street in 1996 and the Town centre in 2003.


The approach undertaken was to provide a reduced dominance of traffic on the former trunk road in Petersfield and ensure that the benefits of the by-pass were maximised to provide a safe and pleasant environment for residents, shoppers and visitors and preserve and enhance local business viability.  The overall scheme has created a hierarchy of roads with Dragon Street still acting as the main street and the town centre becoming a 20mph zone and Restricted Zone where yellow lines have been removed. All improvements used subtle traffic calming with different features to achieve their goal. These included techniques such as narrower roads with ‘courtesy crossings’, pinch points, gateways, some shallow road humps and cushions, surface treatments, junction modifications, planting, sheltered parking, entry treatments, changes to junction priority and limited use of road markings and signs, even at junctions and crossing points.

It was important that the traffic calming interventions were not implemented in isolation and that they worked as an integral part of a scheme to enhance the town. 


The following measures were carried out to enhance and support the project in order to ensure its success;

  • Increased bus movement and construction of new bus stands and shelters
  • Reduction of road width on main shopping street
  • A small increase in provision of on-street parking in allocated bays – avoiding yellow lines
  • Use of complementary local materials
  • Use of appropriate lighting
  • Use of character defining street furniture.

In addition

  • Petersfield Town Square is now pedestrian friendly due to the reduction in traffic flow combined with public realm improvements.
  • The Removal of white lines along with visual narrowing helped to reduce traffic speeds.
  • Side road entry treatments further emphasised the pedestrian friendly environment.
  • Raised tables act as a traffic calming measure and improves cross-street pedestrian accessibility


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