Transportation Safety Initiatives

By implementing transportation safety initiatives, we can create safer streets, reduce the likelihood and severity of collisions, promote active transportation, and enhance the overall quality of life for Medicine Hatters.

There are typically two ways to influence driver safety:

  1. encourage or discourage a certain behaviour with regulations like posted speed limits and other laws
  2. build infrastructure that induces a certain behaviour - this is called traffic calming

Speed limits

The maximum speed limit on Medicine Hat roads is 50 km per hour unless otherwise posted. Reduced speed limits in areas with heavy congestion and high pedestrian use help to improve public safety.

School and playground zones

A maximum speed of 30 km per hour is in effect in playground zones beginning at 7:30 a.m. and ending at 9:00 p.m. daily.

Speed zones

Following a 2017 posted speed limit review, the City modified speed limits in various speed zones. Downtown, for example, was reduced to 40 km per hour. Portions of Parkview Drive NE were increased to 70 km per hour.

View the speed zone map

Speed reader boards

A speed reader is an electronic sign that detects your current speed by radar and flashes if you are travelling above the posted speed limit.

photo of yellow speed radar sign

Setting speed limits alone is not always effective in improving safety and rely on enforcement to influence behaviour. That’s when modifying the built environment with traffic calming measures to reduce speed will make our streets safer.

Traffic calming

Traffic calming refers to a set of engineered measures to reduce vehicle operating speeds and improve safety for pedestrians, cyclists and residents. The measures are strategically placed to influence driving behaviour and encourage drivers to be more cautious and attentive.

Pilot project

In 2023, the City will implement a variety of traffic calming measures in deliberate locations to evaluate their effectiveness in addressing traffic safety concerns in our community. During the pilot, we identified three different land use locations:

  1. Residential: Ranchlands Boulevard NE (2023) and Eighth Street SE (2024)
  2. Commercial: Third Street SE downtown at Fourth Avenue SE
  3. Institutional: Eight Street NE near St. Francis Xavier School

Before any measures are implemented, emergency response services perform a test scenario to identify any impacts to access and response times.

The following measures were strategically chosen for deployment:

Speed humps

Aerial view of a city street with a speed hump. There are buildings and cars in view.Speed humps are raised sections of road that can be driven over comfortably at low speeds. Unlike speed bumps, which have a sharper rise, speed humps are constructed with a more gradual incline, making them easier on vehicles and bicycles and they are more effective at reducing speeds while maintaining traffic flow.

Pilot location: Ranchlands Boulevard (2023)

Map of locations for speed humps

Curb extensions

Aerial view of multiple lane city intersection with curb extensionsPhoto of street, sidewalk and traffic delineators with a pedestrian in the crossingCurb extensions are curbs that are built further into the street to reduce crossing distance for pedestrians, making them more visible to motorists at crosswalks, and narrowing the roadway to slow down drivers. During the pilot program, we will use delineators to create temporary curb extensions.

Pilot location: intersection of Third Street SE and Fourth Avenue SE downtown (2023)


Photo of cars on road with white delineators separating driving area from curbA traffic delineator is a device, typically a vertical marker, used on roadways to guide and direct traffic. They can take various forms, including flexible posts, cylinders, cones or panels and are designed to be sturdy enough to withstand vehicle impacts, while bending or collapsing upon impact to minimize damage to the vehicle and the delineator itself.

Pilot location: Eighth Street NE near St. Francis Xavier School (2023)

Mini roundabouts

Overhead view of a traffic roundaboutA roundabout is a circular design to manage traffic flow and improve safety at an intersection by reducing the potential for severe collisions, reducing vehicle speeds, and minimizing traffic delays. Drivers approaching a mini roundabout must yield to the vehicles already in the roundabout.

Pilot location: Eighth Street SE on the Southeast Hill at two intersections (Second Avenue SE and Fourth Avenue SE) (2024)

In addition to physical infrastructure, traffic calming often involves the use of signage, pavement markings, and landscaping elements to create a visual and psychological environment that prompts drivers to reduce their speed and be more aware of their surroundings.

Staff will review the effectiveness of the pilot measures over a two-year period. Results and learnings will be incorporated into the City’s:

  • active transportation strategy,
  • transportation safety strategy, and
  • transportation master plan.

Future implementation of traffic calming measures may be considered at that time.

How is traffic calming introduced? 
We receive numerous service requests relating to transportation safety concerns such as residential speeding and ensuring our road network is safe for emerging trends such as active or multimodal transportation. 
Identify need 
A preliminary review of the location allows us to identify or confirm potential issues and prioritize for further analysis. 
Data collection and analysis 
We follow best engineering practices and industry standards/guidelines established by the Transportation Association of Canada. We have established warrant assessment protocols for posted speed reviews and pedestrian crosswalks. Staff will deploy tools to measure operating speed and traffic volumes. Site visits and visual observation help confirm the need for traffic control and/or traffic calming measures. 
Identify the appropriate tool and technique to meet the desired outcomes 
Appropriate traffic calming measures are assessed on various factors including road classification/design, traffic volumes, vehicle types (heavy truck/dangerous goods), residential impact, and available road right-of-way. If traffic calming is recommended, the location is placed on a prioritized list for implementation.