Education Toolbox

Engineering Director

Thomas V. Clabo, P.E.
[email protected]
(865) 215-2148

400 Main St., Suite 475
P.O. Box 1631
Knoxville, TN 37901

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Education Toolbox
Neighborhood Traffic Safety Program

Welcome to the Education Toolbox of the City of Knoxville’s Neighborhood Traffic Safety Program (NTSP). Here you will find ideas and resources for appealing to speeders in your neighborhood to alter their behavior and reduce their speed.

This toolbox is designed to lend support to a neighborhood-led, neighborhood-centric education campaign. The focus is on your own neighbors — and others who regularly drive through your neighborhood. Success will depend on you and your neighbors to create and manage an outreach effort that works for your neighborhood.

Regardless of the number of so-called “cut-through” drivers, the Knoxville Police Department issues a significant number of speeding tickets to individuals who reside in the neighborhoods where enforcement has taken place. This is the reason for the emphasis on both resident and pass-through drivers.

As you develop your program, and as you gain experience appealing to your neighbors, we hope that you will share your findings so that others in the city might benefit from what you have learned. The Office of Neighborhood Empowerment, which manages the education component of the NTSP, welcomes your feedback and suggestions. Just contact Hayley Howard at [email protected] or 215-3232.

Here are some tools and suggestions that may help your neighborhood launch a traffic safety education program:

Reaching Out to Neighbors
Printed Educational Materials
High Visibility Activities
Advanced Tools


Advocates for slower traffic may wish to engage their neighbors in order to accomplish one or more of the following:

• Appeal to neighbors to stop speeding.
• Apply for a Traffic Safety Study.
• Obtain the required petition signatures.
• Inform neighbors of meetings with the City.
• Encourage neighbors to get involved when the City and the Neighborhood meet to develop a traffic calming plan (if the neighborhood qualifies for physical traffic calming devices).

Please review the suggestions below. If you have questions or need assistance, call the Office of Neighborhood Empowerment at 865-215-3232 and ask to speak to Hayley Howard.

Getting Organized

Here are some tips on getting started with your traffic calming and education campaign efforts:

Don’t Fly Solo. You may be one concerned citizen in an unorganized neighborhood. Or you might be the “traffic calming chair” for an active neighborhood group. Regardless, it is important to recognize that you will need help. Otherwise, you run the risk of burning out early. If you start off working alone, your neighbors may assume you can do it all. If you start with a core of neighbors who are committed to playing an active role, your collective efforts likely will be more successful in the long run.

Get on the Same Page. Make sure that you and your group understand each other’s motivations. Why are you involved? What are your goals? What do you hope to gain?

Create a Work Plan. Think through who is going to do what and when. Which neighbors will take on specific tasks on a realistic schedule set by the group?

Choose Diplomacy

Speeding is a very emotional issue. Lives and quality of life are at stake. You may be very upset by neighbors who speed or who disagree with you about traffic calming solutions. However, diplomacy likely will produce better results than getting mad. Consider these suggestions:

• Reach out to every neighbor.
• Be sure everyone knows about meetings with the City.
• Seek to understand opposite points of view.
• Cultivate relationships with neighbors over time.
• Be tactful and keep trying gentle persuasion.

Door-to-Door Outreach

Knocking on doors and meeting neighbors face to face is the most effective way to engage your neighbors.

Going door to door will help secure petition signatures, spread the word about the NTSP and upcoming meetings, and capture names and contact information of neighbors who wish to stay informed. An initial door-to-door effort can then be followed by emails, distribution of flyers, and other methods of staying in touch.

See Door-to-Door Neighborhood Outreach [PDF] for tips and suggestions.

Neighborhood Meetings

The NTSP provides for several meetings with city officials. Applicants for the program agree to inform their neighbors of these meetings. But how should such meetings be organized and conducted?

See Tips on Leading Successful Neighborhood Meetings [PDF].

Still have questions or need help? Contact the Office of Neighborhood Empowerment. We will be glad to assist.


The Office of Neighborhood Empowerment is working with the all-volunteer Traffic Safety Education Committee to develop and print a variety of bumper stickers, information brochures, and yard signs for use by neighborhoods in their anti-speeding education campaigns.

Neighborhoods that have successfully submitted an application and petition for a traffic safety study will be able to obtain these materials from the city for free.  Neighborhoods not registered with the Office of Neighborhoods or which are not active in this program will pay a nominal fee for the materials. Low-income neighborhoods can apply for funding through the Micro Grants Program or the Neighborhood Small Grants Program.

Bumper Stickers

Our first bumper sticker, “Slow Down in K-town,” featuring our mascot, the sloth, are available until supplies last. Thanks to Paul Schmutzler, who created the artwork.

Other ideas:
 We Can Drive 25
 Pace Car
 HONK and I’ll Slow Down
 Thank You for Slowing Down
 Stopping is a Part of Driving

If you have comments or other suggestions, let us know!

Information Brochures

Thanks to Heidi Schmutzler for her work on our first brochure, “Teen Driving Traps,” which is in the final stage of development. Our second brochure --- covering the NTSP program itself --- will be available online soon.

Other brochures on the drawing board:
 Bicycle and Pedestrian Safety
 Children at Risk – including advice to motorists regarding school buses
 Speeding Kills (statistics on injuries to pedestrians and bicyclists)

Yard Signs

Yard signs are an effective component of an education campaign if they convey a clear, easily-readable message. Such signs also need to be rotated frequently, because the same sign in the same location eventually becomes “invisible” to drivers.

Home-made signs can be just as effective as printed signs, but all messages should avoid insulting or threatening drivers.

When placing a sign, be sure that it does not block sight distance for drivers or anyone exiting a driveway. Also, to comply with the city sign ordinance, traffic calming signs should not be permanent.

With input from the Education Committee, the City has produced a "Slow Down in K-Town Sign" that a neighborhood can use at its entrances and in the interior of the neighborhood. If you would like to purchase blank signs, neighborhoods can include messages such as:

 Please Slow Down
 Stopping is a Part of Driving
 Children Ahead
 Enjoy the Ride
 Kids Live Here / Slow Down

Meanwhile, individual neighbors or neighborhood organizations can buy yard signs from various vendors. These messages are protected by trademarks and therefore cannot be reproduced by the City. Here are two that we know about:

Drive Like Your Kids Live Here --- available at Home Depot (and perhaps other large retail outlets) as well as for $15-$20 each.

Keep Kids Alive, Drive 25 – Available only from at $30 for a single sign, plus shipping. 


In addition to distributing educational materials, neighborhood groups may wish to organize highly visible activities to encourage drivers to slow down. In all of the examples listed below, organizers are strongly encouraged to plan carefully to ensure the safety of everyone involved, including pedestrians, bicyclists, and drivers.

If you implement one of the ideas below, please share your results and “lessons learned” with the Office of Neighborhood Empowerment at [email protected] or 215-3232.

Human Billboarding

Organize neighbors to stand well off the street at a neighborhood entrance during daylight rush hour, holding signs to encourage drivers to slow down. To boost safety and visibility, wear high visibility yellow safety vests, which can be purchased from a building supply store.

Remember the importance of diplomacy. Threatening or yelling at speeders may produce a result exactly opposite of what you are hoping for.

Neighborhood Bike Ride

Organize a Group Bike Ride around the neighborhood. Use printed or homemade tee shirts to ask drivers to slow down. But do NOT block traffic.

Neighborhood Group Walk

Rather than just the occasional walker, try turning out a dozen or more neighbors to carry signs and walk together. Get to know your neighbors and send a positive message to drivers to slow down. Do NOT block traffic. Plan for safety. Wear yellow safety vests. Consider hiring an off-duty police officer to accompany you.

 "There Are People Living Here” Yard Activities

Boost evidence of human activity in front yards near the street. Some suggestions are:
• Place disposable bicycles or other children’s toys near the street.
• Set up a lemonade stand (with adult supervision).
• Create a roadside seating area with chairs.
• Use the chairs! Meet neighbors at appointed times for conversation and other activities in front yards.
• Place a “Children Live Here” sign on a lawn chair next to the street.
• As always, exercise caution, especially with children around.

Please contribute your ideas to this list!


Radar Trailer Units --- The City has access to a few Radar Trailer Units. These are mostly used on roads/streets that do not qualify for NTSP measures.