In India, 11,000 people die each year in automobile accidents tied to potholes or speed bumps, presumably because drivers fly over them, often on purpose. India's minister of road transport, Nitin Gadkari, hopes faux speed bumps will help by encouraging drivers to slow down while reducing the risk when they don't. "We are trying out 3D paintings used as virtual speed breakers to avoid unnecessary requirements of speed breakers," Gadkari tweeted along with the image above.
The optical illusions have been tried in other countries, including the US, as I posted back in 2008.
"Initially they were great," Phoenix, Arizona police traffic coordinator officer Terry Sills said at the time. "Until people found out what they were."
The German city of Augsburg embedded traffic lights in the pavement so pedestrians staring at their phones would be more likely to see them. City officials said the project was initiated after a teenager was killed crossing train tracks while allegedly distracted by her phone.
"(The lighting system) creates a whole new level of attention," said city spokeswoman Stephanie Lermen.
image: Thomas Hosemann/Stadtwerke Augsburg Read the rest
This video reminds me of a scene from Road Warrior. Homestead, Florida police charged motorcyclist Rone Gonzalez, 23, with misdemeanor reckless driving and auto driver Kristiian Rosa, 30, with felony Aggravated Assault with a motor vehicle and misdemeanor reckless driving.
"Police arrest participants in Homestead road rage incident" (Local10, thanks UPSO!)
On a stretch of Route 66 between Albuquerque and Tijeras, New Mexico, engineers at Sand Bar Construction, the New Mexico Department of Transportation, and the National Geographic Channel installed a series of rumble strips that play “America the Beautiful" as you traverse them at 45 miles per hour. Apparently, the jingle of corporate sponsor Nationwide was originally included in the road's repertoire but it has since been removed. Watch the video above about the installation, meant keep to drivers at a safe speed.
Tor, the internet anonymity network you can use to hide your activity from prying eyes, is beautiful in blue. Torflow is a visualization of the vast amounts of traffic streaming between its many nodes, delineating a map of the internet as it can't otherwise be seen.
You can add and remove activity associated with different components of the Tor network, and then watch as thousands of on-screen particles rapidly drain your mobile device's batteries.
Beijing, China. If this fascinates you, so long as you are not sitting in it, I highly recommend Tom Vanderbilt's fantastic book "Traffic: Why We Drive the Way We Do (and What It Says About Us)."
Below, Tom's presentation at our Boing Boing: Ingenuity 2013 conference.
“This is what happens when people come back from vacation in China and try to get into Beijing. And you thought your puny traffic jams were crazy.” Read the rest
New research suggests that traffic noise (apart from pollution and general hectic motion) degrades the natural habitat of songbirds, and perhaps other animals. Boise State University biologists created a "phantom road" using speakers to create traffic noise in a natural, roadless songbird habitat. Read the rest
Shenzhen, China police posted on social media that drivers who use their headlights inappropriately are being punished by staring into headlights for five minutes. Read the rest
Ben Marks of Collectors Weekly says, "We just published a piece about how streets came to be the exclusive domain of automobiles (spoiler alert: they didn't start out that way). Among other sources, we interviewed Peter Norton, author of Fighting Traffic, and Ben Fried, the New York editor of Streetsblog." Read the rest
Mr. Hagar, in Europe you can and will drive 55.
In a move to reduce the 30,000 annual traffic fatalities in Europe each year, the European Union is planning to equip cars with technology that senses the speed limit and applies the brakes if the car is speeding.
The scheme would work either using satellites, which would communicate limits to cars automatically, or using cameras to read road signs. Drivers can be given a warning of the speed limit, or their speed could be controlled automatically under the new measures.
EU plans to fit all cars with speed limiters (Thanks, Matthew!)
Update: From the Blogs of the European Commission: “The Commission has supported past research into ISA. There is a current stakeholder consultation and study focusing on speed limiting technology already fitted to HGVs and buses. One aspect of that is whether ISA could in the long-term be an alternative. And a second consultation on in-vehicle safety systems in general. Taking account of the consultation results, the Commission will publish in the autumn a document by its technical experts which will no doubt refer to ISA among many other things. That is all. (NB such 'staff working documents' are not adopted by the Commission at political level and have no legal status.) Nothing more is expected in the foreseeable future." Read the rest
Jeffrey sez, "A fascinating article about what causes traffic jams, and how to drive differently to help ease 'stop and go' traffic. It is interesting to see how basic human instincts (or maybe just the way we have been taught how to drive) can turn a crowded road into one that is jammed with stop and go traffic. It is probable that self-driving cars will eliminate many of these issues before many humans have time to learn these techniques. However, it is very encouraging to hear the author's anecdote about how he was able to singlehandedly erase a traffic jam in his own lane:"
Read the rest
On a day when I immediately started hitting the usual "waves" of stopped traffic, I decided to drive slow. Rather than repeatedly rushing ahead with everyone else, only to come to a halt, I decided to try to drive at the average speed of the traffic. I let a huge gap open up ahead of me, and timed things so I was arriving at the next "stop-wave" just as the last red brake lights were turning off ahead of me. It certainly felt weird to have that huge empty space ahead of me, but I knew I was driving no slower than anyone else. Sometimes I hit it just right and never had to touch the brakes at all, but sometimes I was too fast or slow.
Suzanne Paulson, UCLA professor of atmospheric and oceanic sciences, saw "Carmageddon" as an opportunity to make use of a "natural experiment." She and a colleague "measured pollutants in the air during the LA freeway shutdown last year, and have now released their findings.
Air quality near the normally busy highway improved by 83 percent that day last July, relative to comparable weekends. Elsewhere in West Los Angeles, the improvement was equally dramatic. Air quality improved by 75 percent on that side of the city and in Santa Monica, and by 25 percent throughout the entire region, as a measure of the drop in ultrafine particulate matter associated with tailpipe emissions.
"We saw what we expected: you take motor vehicles away, the air gets really, really clean," Paulson says, "which tells us that most of the pollution is from motor vehicles from one type or another in this area."
More: L.A.'s 'Carmageddon' Produced Dramatic, Instantaneous Air Quality Improvements (The Atlantic).Another "Carmaggedon" just took place in LA. Wonder if there will be more science to come from this edition.