Virtual speed bumps used to reduce traffic speeds

Virtual speed bumps used to reduce traffic speeds
‘Virtual’ speed bumps which play with perspective in an effort to reduce driving speeds are popping up on London roads.

The 2D optical illusions are created by patterns painted onto street surfaces in black and white, presenting an illusory bump to oncoming vehicles.

In anticipating a jolt that never actually comes, it is hoped drivers on both busy highways and in quieter suburban areas will slow down as they would for the real thing.

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The scheme began back in November 2014 when Transport for London (TfL) trialled the concept on the A177 in Newham. It was followed up last summer on Southwark Street in the south of the city.

The target set for the virtual bumps is to reduce traffic speeds below 20mph in certain areas.

Nine months after the early tests were implemented, results suggested that speeds had come down by 3mph on average.

Other TfL-controlled roads such as the A40 and North Circular could soon join 45 undisclosed locations that now currently run with initiative.

Nigel Hardy, TfL's head of sponsorship, road space management, said: “We will continue to try new speed reducing ideas to save lives and prevent injury on our roads.”

Late last month a Brake report highlighted that Highway Code comes up ‘woefully short’ on the recommended stopping distances it supplies in its written guidance to drivers.

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The new illusory bumps are part of an overriding strategy to control speed without humps, bumps and lumps – which lead to upturns in both noise and pollution.

In fact, the constant slowing down and speeding up associated with physical bumps can more than double the amount of harmful gases vehicles emit.

As part of similar thinking, Cambridgeshire County Council late last year unveiled a so-called ‘ghost roundabout’ which was described by some as an 'urban crop circle'.

The unusual traffic-calming design was met with criticism on social media, largely due to the £500,000 cost.

Copyright Press Association 2017. Motoring News articles do not reflect the RAC's views unless clearly stated.