Smart Speed Bumps Slow Only Speeding Cars

Like it or not speed bumps are an essential part of our road infrastructure especially in built-up places like near schools [Business Insider UK] reports non-Newtonian liquid filled speed bumps are being tested in Spain, Israel and Germany.

Traditional speed bumps do have their drawbacks; damage to the underside of low vehicles is common. While they should be uniform in dimensions, in practice they can vary significantly, making driving over unfamiliar bumps a bit unpredictable. This is all set to change with non-Newtonian bumps which are soft to drive over at slow speeds but for speeding drivers they harden up and act more like traditional bumps. This gives drivers following the letter of the law a better driving experience whilst still deterring speeding drivers..

Non-Newtonian materials are nothing new but we think this is a great way of purposing these type of materials. Roads are getting smart whether you like it or not. It’s time to embrace technology and improve our commutes. 

132 thoughts on “Smart Speed Bumps Slow Only Speeding Cars

  1. Zones that only allow self driving cars seems like it will quickly make speed bumps obsolete. Probably the near future for very modern large cities like London and NYC, and progressive cities like Amsterdam or ones with a lot of central planning like maybe Singapore.

    1. Why do you think self driving cars will obey the speed limit? The cars (in the SF future where the tech exists) do what their controllers want them to do, and today drivers tell their cars to speed.

        1. … Why in the world would you think that? On highways you’re not far off from the maximum speed *period* of a number of cars. Cars routinely go ~75-80 mph, and realistically there’s not much more headroom before you start having cars which can’t keep up, which is a danger, self-driving cars or not.

          On in-town roads, maximum speeds are because of traffic lights and intersections, and until you get rid of cross traffic and pedestrians, you’re not fixing that.

          Plus, to be honest, humans tend to drive *faster* and more aggressively than safe limits. No self-driving car’s going to be doing 70 on a highway in inclement weather.

          1. They won’t be retrofitting 90s corollas with self driving, Tesla’s “self driving” cars are capable of 140. And even new normal daily driver IC cars are coming with more and more power. Most brand new every day cars are coming with 300hp now, when 200 was a lot in the late 90s and early 2000s

          2. He wasn’t talking about engine power, but stopping distance and cornering ability (evasive action).

            75-80 mph is at the limit of physical safety and survivability in the generic situation, and 55 mph is around the optimum speed for fuel consumption over distance.

            The computer may have millisecond reactions, but unless your car is built like a very expensive sportster it won’t react accordingly. With the average age of vehicles about 11 years, you have a ton of cars with worn-out brakes and suspensions and wheels out there that simply won’t handle as well as brand new cars, and requiring these to be maintained to a 140 mph standard will make them prohibitively expensive.

            In Germany every car that goes on the unlimited portions of the autobahn must have inspections every 2 years to make sure they’re actually able to.

          3. To be honest, if there is a self drive lane on motorways as an introduction to all out self drive motorways in the UK or any other country, then that could work fine.
            When the vehicle pulls into the self drive lane, the computer would use gps and national cellphone 4g/5g and motorway booster spots for wifi such as in tunnels, under bridges and in cell dead spots etc to take over and drive the vehicle.
            This would allow for much more effective traffic flow with little to no congestion, because the typical motorway driver (myself included) tend to ignore any speed advisory due to upcoming traffic and just speed along till we encounter traffic and then stop, this causes mile long snake backs which result in horrendous congestion which just snakes its way back down the motorway. A smart car network would solve this because each car would have the speed and following distances altered by a supercomputer (or multiple supercomputers working dedicated sections of the motorway).
            Also this would ease congestion to no end on A roads with two lanes, trucks tend to overtake each other to travel 2-3mph faster than the vehicle in front that wants to do 55mph instead of 60mph etc, this results in massive traffic when everyone else is traveling 70mph and has to que waiting for the truck to overtake.
            Not only would all trucks now be doing 60mph at all times, but any trucks that take longer to speed up etc (due to load etc), can be calculated by the supercomputer and deemed if it should be slowed slightly to allow following truck/s to overtake as it builds speed, then there would be no need for long ques waiting for trucks overtaking 1mph at a time etc.

            Double this network up with cameras that can auto detect objects on the motorway (this is becoming standard on traffic managed motorway sections in the UK anyway, with cameras every 100 or so meters over the emergency hard shoulder, this allows the hard shoulder to be used as a lane in congestion and shut off for use at specific spots, should a vehicle need to use it for an emergency), then when animals or trash etc are a threat to cars, the network will know where to slow traffic and or stop it before it becomes a hazard to oncoming vehicles.

            Any non self driving car using dedicated self drive lanes will receive and automatic ban, given the fact they should not be on the road if they are that stupid to interrupt a self drive network with potential fatal results if they drive in a dangerous or unpredictable manner.
            This will also prove an incentive to people adopting self drive, given business users will all adopt it for the time saving benefits and added safety to their staff/selves, eventually every other driver will adopt it with future car purchases, whether it be a new or used vehicle with self drive.

            Once motorways are all self drive, then the vehicles will be of a much more strict safety standard than current vehicles, and when a supercomputer has all the specs of each car on the motorway, it will know how to react in emergencies because it will have live data of brakes, tires, weight and all other calculations it will need to allow for maximum safe resolution.
            Only thing I don’t like is in major incidents (say a truck broke down expectantly and instant decelerated) the computer may have to consider crashing other cars intentionally to avoid them colliding with the massive truck at speed and resulting in instant death.
            Decisions like if the computer can only save one car in a situation, does it choose to save the car with a family of four or the one next to it with a single driver, but he is the sole provider for his six children at home (which the computer will never factor and save the family of four over him).
            No matter how to put it, it will never be accepted that someone had to die to save others, but if they were in control of the driving, more likely they all would just die in a horrendous accident… But that would be acceptable to both sides of the accidents families, since no one was intentionally sacrificed to save the other.

            When it comes to city driving though, i think it should be less self drive, more drive assist and intervene only if necessary, like on mk7 golf, they have brake assist technology, it alerts you if you are approaching a vehicle and it is deemed too close, if you ignore the alert, then the car will auto react and self brake to avoid a collision, it also works if someone was to run in front of your car as it drives, but with a combined network which allows for multiple inputs, would be far more effective as it would be able to see hazards from more than just one radar dome on the front of the car.

      1. +JimL human race has learned enough to design self-driving cars intentionally speed-limited. I am more of Mr. Dax’s opinion above: “Let’s first wait for the self-driving cars”. I don’t think self-driving cars will run in 100% of our roads (not even today’s cars can run in 100% of our roads), so speed bumps will always be necessary.

      2. The cars do what their controllers want them to do

        Like our phones/smartTV/IoT/etc today do what their controllers want.

        I like your perspicacy when you said controllers instead of owners.

      1. American roads are horrible for biking, I’m afraid. You have to be in the sidewalk or the middle of the street and either choice will get you dirty looks from drivers and pedestrians.

        1. As a cyclist, I find no trouble using the sidewalk in towns and cities. It’s only an issue for those spandex-clad douches with their flimsy carbon fibre road bikes who think they’re training for tour de france and try to do 30 mph between people walking their dogs.

          In places where cycling is the culture, the culture of cycling is very different. You don’t go on the road with the cars on one of these – they belong to the sidewalk.

          1. They belong on the cycle paths actually. Or on the road with the cars, near the curb, so that there is space for cars to pass. They categorically do NOT belong on the sidewalk. Mixing pedestrians and cyclists (even in a cycling culture like the Netherlands or Denmark) is NOT a good idea due to the speed differences and limited maneuverability of cyclists.

          2. Yes, they do. In countries where cycling is a common mode of transport, these bikes drive in the road, but mostly if there is no bike lane. Better yet, cycling on the sidewalk is in many countries prohibited. You use the bike lane, or the road if there is no lane.

            There is not this crazy divide between motorists and cyclists either, because almost all motorists also regularly ride a bike. In countries where cycling is a hobby, the two groups often seem to be out to murder each other.

          3. >”Mixing pedestrians and cyclists (even in a cycling culture like the Netherlands or Denmark) is NOT a good idea due to the speed differences and limited maneuverability of cyclists.”

            Again, that’s from the idea that the cyclist has a right of way. Where I live, if there is no separate cycling path or lane (most roads/paths for light traffic are shared) the cyclist goes with the pedestrians. The larger and faster always yields to the smaller and slower, and the rear-ender is responsible for the injury, so the cyclist always slows down for the pedestrians and steps off the bike to walk if necessary, if they cannot control the bike safely otherwise.

            The difference in culture is that the cyclist doesn’t assume the right to zip through like they own the road, and they’re not allowed to complain. In return, the pedestrians try not to block the whole road and leave a gap for cyclist to go through. The cyclists are effectively pedestrians with the added bonus of going faster if the traffic allows.

            This is explicitly so that the cyclist wouldn’t have to take their chances with the cars on the road, because it’s inevitable that the cyclist falls over on a wet cobblestone and gets mangled under a bus. The accident rates are much lower with cyclist on the sidewalk than forcing the cyclist on the road.

          4. >”Better yet, cycling on the sidewalk is in many countries prohibited.”

            That makes little sense, unless your sidewalks are too narrow and/or overcrowded. Then again, a bicycle is not really all that useful right in the middle of the city where people walk in their thousands, exactly because you’ll become a nuisance for both the cars and the pedestrians.

          5. >”That makes little sense, unless your sidewalks are too narrow and/or overcrowded. Then again, a bicycle is not really all that useful right in the middle of the city where people walk in their thousands, exactly because you’ll become a nuisance for both the cars and the pedestrians.”

            It might be the different experiences, or lack of them, that leads to a different evaluation of the situation. Bicycles are actually very useful in cities and in bicycle minded societes they are viewed as a replacement of the car, at least in the more densely populated areas and at distances of 20 kilometers of less. Driving a car in a crowded city makes little sense. A good example would be London, where the average speed of cars is under 8 miles per hour. Even a lazy cyclist does that with ease. Bicycles have the added benefits of being clean, cheap, silent and not taking up as much space. You can ride and park many bikes for every car. Unless you are transporting goods, the inherently compact nature of cities is much more bicycle friendly than car friendly. Added to that, many cities have started to discourage car use by prohibition or taxes, simply because there is a limit on how much traffic a city can deal with.

            Proper separation of pedestrians and bicycles keeps everyone safe. To make it any sort of alternative for cars, you need to be able to get up to reasonable speed, which is not really impossible to do safely on the sidewalk. The average cycling speed would be around 12.5 mph, or 20 kilometers an hour, which is too fast to do safely on most sidewalks. There is a reason both Denmark and the Netherlands prohibit cycling on the sidewalk. Those guys know what they’re doing. Bicycles are viewed as a distinct category between pedestrians and cars, not as pedestrians plus or slow cars, and therefore get their own infrastructure.

          6. “We found a better solution in Amsterdam: It’s called a bicycle.”

            I love my bike, ride it to work every day, and 20+ miles/32km on the weekends. But it is *not* a replacement for a car in geographically dispersed cities such as mine, for people with families. I live in one of the largest cities (geographically) in the United States and biking everywhere is *not* an option, especially with young kids. It’s best for recreation and exercise only. I’d love a biking city, but not every city is the same.

          7. >”I live in one of the largest cities (geographically) in the United States and biking everywhere is *not* an option, especially with young kids. It’s best for recreation and exercise only.”

            I’m sure you don’t take your children everywhere you go, right? Many people own a car and a bike, because of the same reasons you own a car, but there are still plenty of opportunities to commute by bike. It’s not mutually exclusive. Go grocery shopping? Go by car. Go to a friend a few miles down the road? Go by bike. Get drunk. Need to haul 8 kids to baseball practice? Go by car. Drop them off. Take them home again. Park car. Then get drunk.

          8. “I’m sure you don’t take your children everywhere you go, right?”

            Wrong. I go to the office on bicycle, my wife legally must take our children everywhere she goes because they are too young to be left at home. This is a law, and it is a good one. Even if it weren’t a law we wouldn’t leave them at home alone. And grocery stores (the organic natural food ones we prefer) are about ten miles away, and we have no friends who live within biking distance. The kids don’t go to baseball practice though.

            Church is fifteen miles away, the bike shop is five miles, doctors are fifteen, family is twenty, restaurants are ten… almost everything we do is at least ten miles away. And we’re in the suburbs, not remote rural by any means. It’s just a very large city. Sixty miles across. With terrible busses that take forever, are frequently late, that do not stop near my house, nor go where we need them to in a reasonable amount of time. And no trains within fifteen miles. Great city otherwise, but darned near impossible to live in without a car.

            Even if she wanted to bike to the grocery store I wouldn’t recommend it. The only paths there are dangerous high speed roads. I’m the only one in our family brave enough (foolish enough?) to go on roads like that one steel wheels.

            Even if you made the roads very safe for bikes (a monumental feat) you still have the issue of distance. And it would be unsafe to send the wife and kids on public transit if we even had that option, which we don’t.

            Biking just isn’t the ideal solution for everyone. As you said it is not mutually exclusive; It is an option for some people in some places for some destinations. But not for everyone everywhere.

      2. There’s reason for the end of horse and carriage, food production is the most polluting human activity and muscle power for propulsion is highly inefficient. Riding a bike pollutes as much as moped. A car at city speeds with more than a single passenger is environmentally more sensible than 3 cyclists who are not vegans.

        1. And car drivers are not eating, are they? ;)
          It is told that as the body gets used to exercise the calorie consumption drops. For example there was a study in which the calorie consumption of a native tribe was investigated. It turned out these people, who hunt and gather food all day, need the same amount of calories as people siting before the computer all day (see: http://www.dailymail.co.uk/health/article-2179095/Why-office-workers-burn-calories-hunter-gatherer-forebears.html).
          Sorry bud, you are wrong.

          1. The person would be eating regardless, moving or not.

            The comparison between the foragers and office workers is not exactly relevant to the case, because calorie consumption increases with body mass so overweight people consume more energy. You could be fit but since you sit on your ass all day long you become fat, relative to the hunter-gatherer who rarely finds enough food to become anything more than a sack of bones. When you have less body to maintain, you use less energy.

            It’s well noted that people who just sit around can get by with 1500-2000 calories a day and if they eat more they start getting pudgy and develop health issues, and people who actually do physical work may maintain body mass at 3500 – 5000 calories a day.

            15 miles of cycling adds an extra 400-500 calories to your diet.

          2. I might have been exagarating for entertainment purposes but human power is not free in any law of thermodynamics violating kind of way. I you pedal 15km to and from work 5 days a week, your monthly calorie intake increases by 20%. Where do you; Foltos and Dax think that energy comes from?

          3. >Where do you; Foltos and Dax think that energy comes from?

            Mostly from fossil fuels, as 80% of the food is grown on synthetic fertilizers, packaged in plastic, transported by truck/plane/ship and refrigerated for long periods of time, before being cooked on a gas or electric hob. That’s not to mention the 50% loss through the distribution chain from spoilage and food simply being thrown away. It’s a terrific waste of energy.

            The total EROEI of the pre-industrial agricultural society was somewhere around 1.1 – 1.6 while even the worst sources of oil we are exploiting today return at least 8 units of energy for every unit spent. The well-to-tank efficiency of petroleum from an oil field through the refinery to your gas tank is about 80%. That’s a far superior use of the resource.

        2. How do you figure that the human metabolism is worse than internal combustion engines? The advantage of fossil fuels is not efficiency, it’s that is is (or was) cheap and plentiful energy. You can simply afford to be inefficient and waste huge amounts, because the energy has already been collected for you for free.

          Lugging over a 1000 kg around is unlikely to be more efficient that carrying just your own body and a tiny bit more. Not to mention food is comprised of substances that were already in the atmosphere, while fuel is taken from safe storage and added to the atmosphere, adding to the green house problem.

          Sure, food does not magically grow and needs to be transported around too, but it seems rather unlikely that the difference between what a non-active person and an active person eats, if there is much difference at all, will acount for the fuel burnt plus all the resources that go into making and maintaining a car in the first place.

          However, I stand to be corrected.

          1. The biomechanics of it are well worked out. The metabolic efficiency of the body is about 40% and the mechanical efficiency about 60% resulting in a total efficiency of ~24% plus the amount of energy needed to repair damage. The body has evolved to spend small amounts of power over a long period of time, so modern activities like cycling or running for 15 miles in one go stresses the body and causes extra energy consumption, which lowers the overall efficiency.

            But the main issue is indeed the efficiency to produce food. The efficiency of simple cereals like corn are actually slightly over 100% because plants are essentially solar panels, but the production of meats can have an energy efficiency of less than 5% and even with vegetarian options it’s rare to find something that tops 50% efficiency.

            That is, people power uses more energy than we get out of it. That’s why we burn trees and coal and petroleum to actually do anything, as without this “external metabolism”, we’d require more energy to work than we get out of the work. The whole advancement of humanity has been about finding ways to avoid using muscle power to do anything.

          1. You don’t need to eat so much, and you don’t need the muscle to be healthy.

            The worst thing you can do to yourself is to excercise lots just so you could eat more, because the oxidative stress you’re putting yourself through makes you age faster. The more energy you put through the body, the faster it wears out, because the repair mechanisms involve duplicating cells and the cells have limited number of cycles to prevent mutations and cancer – so the effect is actually the exact opposite. The longest living people are folks like some Indian sadhus who subsist on a grain or rice and sit cross-legged in meditation all day long.

          2. You assume that we humans always intake the same amounts of calories. I can only speak for my selfs that when i excercise regulary i need to eat regular and i do increasse my calory intake. now there are many things that can chage our needs for calories not only excersise. but saying that the amount of excerises you do wont affect your calorie intake now that is just stupid.

          1. Anything over 4% grade?

            A cyclist’s aerodynamic efficiency is so low, and their ballistic coefficient very poor (mass per drag) that they don’t really coast up any sort of hill, so the energy expenditure rises very quickly and cycling becomes exhausting if you have repeated differences in elevation, even if they’re very modest like 10-15 ft.

            Of course the difference is whether you’re cycling to exercise yourself, or cycling just to get around. In the latter case, if you break sweat then it’s game over.

    2. Traditional speed bumps do have their drawbacks; damage to the underside of low vehicles is common.

      “Smart” speed bumps also have their drawbacks; ice picks, nails, OR ANYTHING SHARP AT ALL.

      There is no way that these make sense, I don’t care what elastomer you use over them. They are going to very quickly tear and no longer exist as anything more than a puddle and a shredded piece of rubber.

      1. I could see these in a temporary situation. Might work well for road work in a highly urban area or for special events. A lot of temporary traffic control involves concrete barriers which can pose a danger to drivers. Just grab and move them around town.

          1. Not sure how much highway and roadway work you have done, but I can remember a few projects where this would have had potential as an alternative. Plopping down traditional speedbumps is a pain and road repair just adds time.

            The cost due to closing of urban and major highway work can get pretty astronomical. I would think that weak concrete, leanfill, is silly for filling a trench instead of the dirt that came out of the hole to begin with. But even without liquidated damages when you get behind schedule there are a lot of downtown projects that it makes a project feasible.

            Permanent placement may be silly, but run the costs of a construction day and the decrease in liability if the geometry is present and you don’t have you superintendent out there with a level, could work.

      2. Easy solution:make traditional speed bump and mount it on cushions filled with non-Newtonian liquid. Slow car will depress it so it’s flush with the road, speeding car won’t be able to do that. And because cushions are under it, no one can just stab them.
        Or you can just add a pressure sensor and pressurize the bump, so when someone stabs it or it breaks on its own, message can be sent to proper authority. add a sensor-triggered camera and you can not only easily find a perpetrator, but also take a picture of every car that speeds over the bump…

        1. > Or you can just add a pressure sensor and pressurize the bump, so when someone stabs it or it breaks on its own, message can be sent to proper authority. add a sensor-triggered camera and you can not only easily find a perpetrator, but also take a picture of every car that speeds over the bump…

          All valid ideas, but it will increase the cost of the “smart” speed bump which I’m guessing is already considerably higher than a traditional speed bump. The term for the solutions you are proposing would be “over engineered” (to an impractical degree).

          Damage to the underside of a vehicle is the driver’s (or potentially insurance company’s) problem, not the municipality’s problem. Tax payers aren’t going to want to pay 2x, 5x, 10x for these “smart” speed bumps when normal speed bumps solve the issue (speeding) and do so with a much longer lifetime and lower cost than these.

      3. The biggest concern for speed bumps relates to the increased pollution they create and the delays they cause to emergency vehicles.

        Speed bumps aren’t necessary at all. Punitive fines for transgressors will do a better job.

        1. speed bumps are called sleeping policemen, because they save the cost of hiring an actual traffic cop to give you the ticket, or setting up gatso boxes on every street where they’ll simply get vandalized

    3. That’s not gonna happen anytime in the near future. Yes, this technology is already being implemented in select models and Elon Musk (a.k.a. the Tim Cook of the car world) is eager to implement them, but you’ll have to wait for all the s**tboxes from the 90s and 2000s to die off before this happens. That’ll take at least 20 years, if not more, and won’t be adopted too easily. Plus, in crowded metro regions, banning car-based transport entirely is a possibility and most likely the future. I’m not kidding-Toronto’s thinking about it, and some cities in Spain and France have gone through with it.

    4. I just want to declare I’m vehemently against such zones.
      Sure I and like-minded people won’t ever be able to stop the ‘bright’ future where corporations and governments control our every move, but I can, for now at least, say I’m against it.

    1. Most that I’ve driven over, except for excessively tall bumps, are more comfortable to drive over in a car at a reasonable speed rather than the 1-2 mph that many seem to prefer – car shocks designed to dampen high frequency more than low frequency.

    2. Yea, I’ve found this too, on a bike or in a car speed bumps seem to have a magic speed where going over them is fairly smooth, and it ain’t the low speed they’re intended for. Also what about emergency vehicles, I’m sure people love the fact they have to slow down when their house is on fire or they’re going to hospital.

  2. This also makes sense from an emision standpoint: Ordinary speed bumps are usually traversed at 6-10 mph. That means that having just passed a speed bump, every car accelerates and pollutes 3-5 times more the 30 or so ft following the speed bump. Placing speed bumps for road safty reasons, makes air quality worse locally. An intelligent speed bump like this is saving even more lives!

  3. In a conversation with the guy who heads the street department in the city where I live I mentioned I’d like to build a remote operated speed bump for in front of my house. Push a button and it flies up when a fast car goes past, back down for slow cars. He said ‘The hell with that. Lets make it deploy stop sticks with a click of the button’.
    I like the way he thinks. :D

  4. I’ll take speed bumps over photo enforcement any day. One is about actual safety, the other is a tax masquerading as safety.

    That said, I’m guessing these don’t work as well in very cold (snow / ice) climates. And I wonder what the duty cycle of those bladders are compared to a lump of asphalt/cement…

    1. I’d totally take photo enforcement over speed bumps. Because i’m capable of driving at or – if necessary – below the allowed speed limit. Plus I have yet to see a speed bump that allows me to pass over it at the actually allowed maximum speed. Which means i have to slow down before and accelerate after the bump.

      A bump hinders traffic flow, it raises emissions (brake dust before, acceleration after) and worst of all hinders the rescue services from quickly getting to a person in need.

          1. You won’t feel the bump more than potholes if the speed is high enough. Inertia, mass, velocity, momentum never heard about that? You must have hit your head to be a patient in that ambulance.

        1. Except (at least here, and generally other places that aren’t insane) police don’t get to set the speed limit. That’s usually left to the department in charge of building and maintaining the roads, who also happen to have the engineers and statisticians who can determine what the appropriate limit is for a given type of road.

  5. If there are actually engineered to allow non-speeding drivers to pass normally…

    In some places near where I live, we have ridiculous speed bumps in 50km zones that will absolutely wreck your car if you go over 15km/h. Obviously, after slowing down for one of those, half the drivers are frustrated and accelerate full throttle in first gear until they get to the next one.

    1. Same thing with traffic circles/roundabouts. The local councils like to slap them everywhere because they slow cars down, with the astute observation that if you decrease traffic speed to zero then the road noise and accidents will drop to zero.

      But the effect is the opposite, because they turn the traffic into an accordion that causes more fender benders, and the density of vehicles on the road increases, and the brakes screech and engines roar as people are constantly forced to change speed.

  6. Not that I am against some limited degree of public safety that speed bumps may provide… But if the state was not the initiator of them, they would be labeled booby traps and outlawed…

    1. I think it’s quite self explanatory to be honest, It’s a flexible plastic like material as the bladder that hold a non-Newtonian liquid/gel. The article is about the idea of these speed bumps not their chemical makeup. Your comment is just a waste of web space and time.

  7. I recall someone suggesting something similar for an easy to deploy, temporary pothole repair. The idea was to use a bag filled with a non-newtonian fluid that could be mixed on-site, e.g. water and corn starch. Drop it into a pothole on a busy street and it would resist when traffic passed at speed.

  8. Rumble strips are, to me, way more effective. They can be designed so that the gapping and vane pitch are spaced to intensify at higher speeds as the vehicle suspension can only react so fast. Either that or total lack of maintenance so that the potholes dissuade anyone from speeding at the risk of serious damage.

      1. Yes! In fact, I was thinking up a speed-measuring system that would compare the frequency of the tire noise against a constant pitch, that you could actually build into the car.

        Didn’t someone do the tune thing, musically speaking?

    1. This just teaches the locals who don’t give a shit to ignore the red light, sooner or later this will result in a pedestrian being hit. Pretty dumb if you ask me. Every of these “solutions” have to designed with assholes in mind, a light or traffic sign is not a wall.

      Roundabouts instead of traditional intersections give a very good reason to drive at city speeds and also make traffic lights unnecessary (thus lowering maintenance costs) for most applications (high traffic intersections will probably be better with lights).

      1. Roundabouts present the opposite problem: idiots not knowing how to enter or exit one.

        And the assholes are still cutting you in while you’re trying to circle around. It’s not once that I’ve had to slam the brakes while in the roundabout because some douche went “I’ll just slip riiight there…”

  9. This is a pretty old idea. I remember reading about it quite a few years ago, but can’t remember where.
    Another application of speed bumps that I think is pretty good is a group of low ones as you approach an intersection. Here in Oz we have them and it warns you of a dangerous intersection ahead. There was a report about them too but the added idea was to have them progressively closer together so the rumble frequency increased, encouraging the driver to slow down as it sounds like you were speeding up. I have never seen that implemented but it does sound like a good way to go.

    1. Progressively closer rumble strips is very common in the UK where you’ve got something like a roundabout on a dual carriageway. It sounds (and looks) as if you’re speeding up, giving the clueless a clue while not impeding those paying attention.

    2. Rumble strips are the better choice IMHO, as it at least alerts the driver of possible dangers ahead. I.E. at an intersection near schools and/or vulnerable spots, or for when the speed limit changes to a lower speed (Sometimes the signs are hidden and an unfamiliar driver still gets points if/when caught off guard…. some spots are just plain hard to know!)

  10. Regular appearance on some major intersections around Canberra. When they were first introduced, bikies called them ‘death stripes’ because they got insanely slippery in the wet, and went the full road width. Now they have a gap of a couple of feet in the middle for motorbikes, but the cars still get them.

    1. Citroen have an amazing suspension system so good in fact they used to (might still use them) for filming horse races since the car didn’t jitter all over the place driving along side the horses on a small track. The only downside is I’m sure their suspension is really expensive to fix.

  11. I’ve always wondered what the cost, especially the environmental one, is for speed bumps. Millions of cars unneccesarily braking and accelerating costs a lot of fuel, added wear and tear on tires, brakes and suspension. Obviously, some wrecks might be prevented, which would be a cost too, but speed bumps are the opposite of efficient driving.

    Of course, if people drove a consistent speed, rather than braking and accelerating, the problem would not be as big, but I don’t see that happening any time soon.

  12. Retired paramedic and EMS system manager here. Speed bumps might slow people down but they are a problem during emergency transport of trauma and some medical patients. Speed kills, but bumps hurt, especially when they are placed every 20-50m for long runs in a residential development.
    Speed bumps are bad but I also prohibited speeding and blowing intersections by my fire and EMS crews as it only cut seconds from response times but vastly increased the risk of wrecked crews who wouldn’t arrive turning a one unit call into three units out of service and also risking the drivers and pedestrians all along the path. This applied to both volunteer and paid/professional crews.

    1. Around here there is a system in place that automatically changes the lights to green when emergency vehicles approach. It seems to work quite nicely, as the last few times I’ve ridden in the back of an ambulance I remember very few stops along the way.

    2. Reminds me of one day a real estate agent was taking my father and I for a drive around a new housing estate. One of the things the agent pointed out to us was the “traffic calming devices” so there’d be “no hoons”.

      I was in my early teens at the time. I remember retorting “… and no fast response from your emergency services” (or words to that effect), to which the response was, “I never thought about that!”

      I wouldn’t want to be the poor individual who just had shattered vertebrae having fallen off a roof, being ferried away in an ambulance over all those speed bumps!

  13. speed bumps are nothing more than the government damaging your car as punishment for driving fast they don’t slow down anyone, especially now that everyone has SUVs and crossovers now.

  14. 1. They don’t work because lower cars will be MORE likely to bottom out now.

    2. Better speed bumps are made by making them longer. The problem isn’t the moving up, it’s the rapidly moving up and then back down. It should be like a little plateau you drive onto then off of. Then the angle of the slope controls the speed very accurately. The car isn’t dramatically upset because car suspensions are designed to take a single transition smoothly.

  15. Given that speed bumps (and those awful circle dividers) are a particular hatred of mine, I hope these prove a success. But I also suspect that they’ll cost substantially more to purchase and maintain than the current ones, often made of hard rubber. That’ll limit how many will be installed.

    Also, I’d agree with Brad C. that wider speed bumps already deal quite well with vehicle speed. Go over them slowly and there’s just a brief up and down. Go over them quickly, though, and your suspension bottoms out, giving you a hard thump.

  16. They’ve had speed bumps that aren’t bumps at slow speed for decades now, but so far I have yet to see on e in the wild.
    I won’t be holding my breath to see these do any better in getting on actual roads.

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