Engineers have responded to the public demand for protection by introducing sleeping policeman, chicanes, markings and kerbing.
Although are not an ideal solution, according to government statistics, they work - and thousands of lives have been saved as a result of their installation.
Yet street furniture can also turn streets into no-go areas for buses and emergency vehicles. Evidence suggests that pollution increases ten-fold as vehicles accelerate and brake between obstacles. Streets are louder, and some residents now even want a return to previous streetscapes.
A fresh and successful approach to traffic calming in the Netherlands has attracted the attention of urban designers.
Whole towns have seen all evidence of traffic engineering removed.
Drivers and pedestrians must now rely on eye contact to negotiate junctions. Traffic flows have increased and accidents have fallen as drivers are forced to become more alert in their cars.
Pilot schemes in the UK are producing similarly impressive results and local authorities are watching closely.