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Neighborhood Traffic Management Program (NTMP)

Tools to Address Traffic Volumes

Median Barriers

Median barriers are islands located along the center of a street, which extend through intersections and thereby restrict vehicular movements across the intersection.

They can be used to address cut-through traffic or excessive volumes on residential streets. However, they inevitably result in changes to travel patterns which can shift problems elsewhere. They also may cause inconvenience to residents and delays to emergency response vehicles. Breaks for pedestrians or cyclists can be provided.

Also called median diverters, or island diverters.

Median barriers temporary installation

Temporary Installation

Baldwin Park, CA

Median barriers permanent installation

Permanent Installation


  • An effective tool for reducing traffic volumes.
  • Can be used to prevent cut-through traffic.
  • Can be landscaped for enhanced aesthetics.


  • May cause inconvenience for residents
  • Emergency response agencies may not approve.
  • May transfer problems elsewhere.
  • Permanent versions may be expensive.
Summary of Effectiveness
Volume Reduction Yes
Speed Reduction No
Safety Improvement Possible
Streets to Use On Collector, Local Local/Collector
Use on Bus Route Yes
Use with Curbs and Gutters Yes
Spot or Area-wide Use Spot/Area
Emergency Service Access Issues Yes
Impacts on Arterials Likely
Change in % Truck Unknown
Environmental Changes No
Dependence on enforcement None
Level of Violation Possible
Aesthetics and Landscaping Possible