This is when vehicles cut through residential areas to reach their destination, rather than using main roads.

Closing the road to through traffic, or turning the road into a one-way street are two very effective ways to prevent this issue. However, general traffic calming treatments to slow traffic can also be a good deterrent.

Close road to through traffic

Raised bollards preventing cars entering road but allowing cyclists and pedestrians

Closing the road to through traffic usually refers to building a raised kerb area across the road, with an obstruction such as bollards, trees or flower beds.


Closing the road to through traffic with an obstruction will greatly reduce the number of vehicles using the road. 

It is extremely likely a reduction in vehicle traffic will increase safety. However, this depends on the length of the road as less traffic can encourage higher speeds and lower attention levels by drivers. The obstruction may also reduce vehicle speeds.

Advantages Disadvantages
  • Removes all vehicle through traffic
  • Relatively cheap way to reduce traffic volume
  • The road obstruction could contribute to the character of the area, e.g. with trees or artwork – however, this would increase costs
  • Can be designed to allow access for cyclists
  • Could cause delay to any emergency services
  • May cause longer journeys for local residents
  • Traffic is displaced and problems due to ‘rat running’ through other residential streets can arise
  • Can be a hazard for sight impaired pedestrians
  • Can cause difficulty for people with mobility scooters



Equipment £4,000 - £9,000
Works £1,500 - £3,500
Traffic Regulation Order £1,000
Road Safety Audit £1,500
Total£8,000 - £15,000

Costs above vary depending on condition of the road, drainage and level of character would be required.

One way street

Narrow street with no entry signs

 A one way street only allows vehicles to move in one direction down the road. ‘No-entry’ signs are used to prevent vehicles travelling the wrong way along the road, and sometimes road junctions are redesigned to make it difficult to turn against the flow of traffic. For traffic travelling in the correct direction, arrow signs are used to show it is a one way street.


If a road is currently a narrow two way street where motor vehicles need to slow down to pass each other, changing the road to a one way street will increase vehicle speeds. Vehicle drivers may also be tempted to drive faster because they do not expect any oncoming vehicles.

If motor vehicles speeds increase, this will reduce how safe the road is.

Advantages Disadvantages
  • Can prevent vehicles using the road as a short cut
  • Can create more road space for car and cycle parking
  • Can create more space for widening footways/cycleways
  • Can help traffic to move more freely
  • Likely to increase vehicle speeds
  • Motor vehicles and emergency vehicles may need to travel greater distance to get to their destination

One Way Exceptions

Many one way streets in Cambridge have an exception for bicycles, this is also known as a cycle contraflow. This keeps the city accessible to cyclists, who may find journeys longer and more difficult with an increasing number of one way streets.


  • Only usually used on local residential roads, where an alternative major route is available.
  • For some roads, they will be too important to the Cambridge’s transport network to allow them to become a one way street.

  • This scheme requires a Traffic Regulation Order and a Road Safety Audit.


Equipment £2,500 - £10,000
Works £1,500 - £3,500
Traffic Regulation Order £1,000
Road Safety Audit £1,500
Total£6,500 - £16,000
Costs above will vary depending on number of signs, physical measures and lighting requirements

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