What is a speed cushion?

Speed cushion

Speed cushions are rounded raised areas of asphalt or prefabricated rubber constructed across the roadway width. Speed cushions are traffic calming devices intended to slow traffic speeds on low volume, low speed roads. This type of device allows larger vehicles, especially fire trucks, to straddle them without significantly slowing down. 

Do you have speeding in your neighborhood?

There is a non-emergency phone number that residents can use to contact the Arlington Police Department (APD) traffic department. That number is 817-459-8984. Let APD know the make, model, color, license number and what time the speeding usually occurs. Be sure to limit the period of time to 1-2 hours so they can schedule effectively. That information will help them with enforcement of the speed limit. If the driver becomes combative or threatening in any way, call our Road Rage Hotline number 817-459-5389 or 911.

What’s the difference between speed bumps, humps and cushions?

Yes, these traffic calming devices are different.

Speed bumps are used in parking lots where speeds are 2-10 miles per hour and extend across the traffic lanes. These are useful in places where pedestrians and cars share space closely. Speed bumps are rarely used on public streets because they require vehicles to come to a near stop to pass over them, and can do damage to cars moving at regular speeds.

Speed humps extend the full width of a street but are generally not as tall as speed bumps. They are often used on residential streets where traffic needs to flow smoothly but excessive speed will endanger pedestrians. Speed humps create a single rocking sensation in a car passing over it at the posted speed limit. If a car is driving at an unsafe speed, the hump will jar the vehicle and its contents, causing discomfort to the occupants and disruption to cargo.

“Speed cushions” are modified speed humps which we use on low volume arterial and residential streets designated as an emergency fire routes.  Speed cushions are divided into sections to allow a vehicle with a larger wheelbase, such as a fire truck or ambulance, to “straddle” them without delaying their response time. 

Why install speed cushions?

Speed cushions are designed to reduce vehicular speed on residential local streets that have a single travel lane in each direction. Speed cushions reduce speeds and are often referred to as “bumps” on signage and by the general public.

What are the advantages of speed cushions?

Speed cushions are an effective tool in reducing speeds. Most drivers will slow down to avoid jarring their vehicle. Installation does not require the removal of parking spaces. Unlike traditional police enforcement, speed cushions provide continuous service. They may also discourage cut-through traffic in a neighborhood.

Are there any drawbacks to speed cushions?

Yes. Some of the disadvantages include:

  • Residents living near speed cushions must tolerate increased noise levels as vehicles traverse speed humps day and night.
  • Vehicles may drive on sidewalks or through front yards to avoid speed cushions.
  • Traffic may be diverted to previously quiet parallel streets in the neighborhood.
  • Emergency service response time suffers.
  • Motorized street sweeping equipment cannot be used at speed cushion locations.
  • Speed cushions interfere with street repaving, decreasing the effectiveness of both the speed cushion and the new pavement surface.
  • Speed cushions block the flow of drainage water on some streets and can cause flooding problems.
  • Speed cushions require signing and striping, which some residents consider unattractive.

Who pays for speed cushions?

Residents pay a portion of the cost, depending on a street's average speed after a traffic study.

Cost Sharing Table for 30 Miles per Hour Posted Speed

Actual 85th Percentile Speed - Residents’ Cost Share

  • Less than or equal to 35 MPH - 100%
  •  36 MPH to 38 MPH - 50%
  •  Greater than 38 MPH - 0%

Speed Cushion Installation Policy

For more information on process to install a speed cushion, please see the Speed Cushion Installation Policy.

Contact Information

For questions or comments about the Speed Cushion Program, please call the Public Works Department, Traffic Engineering Division at 817-459-6550.

Request a Speed Cushion

Click here to request a speed cushion. Enter "Speed Cushion" in the search box and enter your information and location where speeding is occurring.