Traffic Calming Procedures

In an effort to control speeds and improve safety on City neighborhood streets, the City of Rio Rancho utilizes various forms of traffic calming measures. In an effort to standardize the process for the installation of traffic calming measures, the City of Rio Rancho Traffic Section has set forth these Policies and Procedures.


  • Traffic circle:

     is a small circle placed in a four-way intersection.They force the driver to deviate around them, thus slowing the vehicle down.
  • Bulb out:

    is a way of narrowing an approach to an intersection.They are used primarily to slow turning cars.
  • Semi-diverter:

     completely shuts off access to one direction of traffic.This can significantly reduce volume on a road.
  • Chicane:

    is a combination of bulb-outs or medians that force vehicles into a circuitous path.
  • 85th Percentile Speed: 

    is the speed at which 15% of traffic exceeds.If speeds are any lower, then traffic calming may not be effective.
  • Traffic Safety Advisory Committee (TSAC):

     a committee composed of representatives from Public Works Engineering, the Fire and Police Departments, Rio Rancho Public Schools, and the Development Services Department

Traffic Calming Requirements:

  • The City of Rio Rancho allows for traffic calming measures to be implemented throughout the City where roadways meet all of the following criteria:
    • The Roadway must be classified as a Residential street,
    • The traffic volume must exceed 1,000 vehicles per day, and
    • 85th Percentile speed on the roadway exceeds 32 mph for a roadway posted at 25 mph.
  • The satisfaction of these requirements does not necessarily mean that traffic calming measures will be implemented. Approval and determination of the installation of traffic calming measures has to follow and comply with the procedures outline below.
  • In the event that a roadway does not meet the above conditions, the City of Rio Rancho Traffic Section will also look at the following characteristics:
    • The percent of vehicles traveling more than 10 mph over the posted speed limit.
    • The roadway being utilized as a ‘cut-through’ route where the vehicle volume is significantly higher than the surrounding area would generate.
    • Crash history along the roadway.
    • The roadway is designated as an emergency response route.
  • The City of Rio Rancho Traffic Section will analyze the traffic volumes and speeds collected for the roadway and make recommendations as to what type of traffic calming, if any, are appropriate.

Traffic Calming Request Procedure:

The City of Rio Rancho Traffic section follows the steps outlined below for traffic calming requests.

  • Requests can be made either by contacting the Department of Public Works Traffic Section Manager, Traffic Engineer, or by filling out the Traffic Calming Request Form.
  • Upon request, the Traffic Section will review the roadway of concern and perform a vehicle speed and volume study. Roadways will be studied once per 12 month period unless drastic changes have been made that increase traffic flow. The data will be collected for a consecutive 72-hour period typically from Tuesday – Thursday.
  • Upon successful completion of the data collection period, the data will be reviewed by the Traffic Section Manager and Traffic Engineer, comparing the data with the requirements outlined above. During this step, it will be determined if traffic calming measures are recommended.
  • If traffic calming measures do not meet the aforementioned requirements, the requestor may be notified and no further action will take place.
  • If the results of the study show that traffic calming measures could be implemented, the following steps will need to be met:
    • Approval from the City Engineer,
    • Approval from the Traffic Safety Advisory Committee (TSAC) which is made up of members from the Rio Rancho Public School District, Police Department, Fire Department, Development Services Department and the Traffic Section.
    • Approval from residents on the roadway requesting traffic calming (simple majority will suffice).
  • Upon approval, the Traffic Section Manager and Traffic Engineer will coordinate the installation of the traffic calming devices with the Streets and Right-of-Way division or through a contractor once budget becomes available.
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