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Can we think of a way to reduce vehicle speeds in residential areas?

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Spook Louw
Spook Louw May 02, 2022
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Approximately 1.3 million people die each year as a result of road traffic crashes. What can communities do to prevent these types of accidents from happening in residential areas?
Why?
Public safety. Children, pedestrians, animals and other, law-abiding, careful drivers should not be at risk of injury or death.
When considering the data, it should be obvious that the methods we currently have to encourage drivers to slow down are not effective enough.
Available methods and their disadvantages:
  • Speed Bumps - Probably the most effective option we have available at the moment, but speed bumps are a major problem for emergency vehicles and are known to damage cars.
  • Roundabouts - Also cause problems for emergency response teams and can cause traffic congestion.
  • Dynamic Speed Display Signs - These signs show drivers their speed, studies have shown them to have an effect, but reckless drivers will not pay them much attention.
  • "Road Diets" - The term used for the method of narrowing lanes and introducing dedicated lanes for pedestrians and cyclists. This helps but requires large structural changes and can lead to traffic congestion. It also only works if there are multiple lanes available.
  • Chicanes - Costly, ineffective use of space.
  • Different materials - It would be extremely expensive to completely rebuild existing roads.
  • Police presence - Logistically impossible to have police everywhere.
  • Refuge islands - Waste of space and not very effective.
So how can we change these existing methods or come up with brand new methods to reduce vehicle speed on residential roads?
The solution:
The ideal solution will be simple and efficient. Major structural changes are expensive and take a long time to be implemented. The solution needs to be something that would be easy to convince local government to implement or even be something that a community is able to introduce by themselves.
Another major point to keep in mind is that such a solution must not impede on the ability of emergency response units to perform their duties or cause irregular traffic congestion.

[1]https://www.who.int/news-room/fact-sheets/detail/road-traffic-injuries

[2]https://sandtonchronicle.co.za/136836/disadvantages-associated-with-speed-bumps/

[3]Evaluation of different types of dynamic speed display signs - https://doi.org/10.1016/j.trf.2012.07.004

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Creative contributions

Holograms of kids and animals projected as playing on the side of the road

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Darko Savic
Darko Savic May 02, 2022
Project kids and animals as playing on the side of the road:

If you really want to make people think about speeding, project sad looking kids as ghosts... The holograms sort of look like ghosts anyway. I describe how it works here.
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Spook Louw
Spook Louw5 months ago
This is great! Would holograms like this be able to be projected during daylight, outdoors?
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Darko Savic
Darko Savic5 months ago
Spook Louw I'm not sure. I will have to look into it
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Reinforce speed tickets by automated speed enforcement

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Michaela D
Michaela D May 02, 2022
Driving culture differs a lot from country to country. In some places, speed limits are taken seriously while in others they are almost considered friendly advice. A way to make drivers respect speed limits is to give more speed tickets. Not by police but by automated speed enforcement technology
that detects speed and photographs the vehicle's plates. The fine is sent to the address linked to that license plate. Also, these systems can be camouflaged so that people do not know where they are - otherwise they would only slow down where they know speed is monitored.
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Povilas S
Povilas S5 months ago
I also thought about the same but from a slightly different perspective. Not to make drivers only slow down where the cameras are (it's easy to remember it after a while if you're local) the simplest solution is to put more cameras. Camouflaging them is not a good option, in my opinion, it's way better when the drivers know that they are approaching the camera (in my country there's usually an informing sign before the camera).
You can't place police everywhere, but you can place cameras everywhere. The camera only photographs you if you break the traffic rules, so I don't think it could be considered an invasion of your privacy. Usually there's also a speeding error margin allowed, like 10 km/h up the allowed limit before the camera photographs you. If there were enough cameras everywhere, everyone would drive below the allowed speed limit (that's the idea, right?) unless they didn't care about the fine or multiple fines.
The main disadvantage, perhaps, is trying to avoid being caught by means such as sticking transparent but at the same time reflective (for a camera flash) tape on your car plates.
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Spook Louw
Spook Louw5 months ago
It's a good idea, I did some research into automated speed traps though, and it's a fascinating debate. Turns out, in many areas around the world, automated speed traps are illegal because many constitutions require a living accuser. Apart from that, communities are hesitant to allow their governments the ability to keep the population under surveillance without a warrant.
Overall, I don't think automated speed cameras will be implemented worldwide soon.

[1]https://www.autoaccident.com/speed-cameras-helpful-or-harmful.html#:~:text=The%20safety%20risk%20is%20involved,risk%20of%20rear%2Dend%20accidents.

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Goran Radanovic
Goran Radanovic5 months ago
Yeah, I was going to say put up cameras in neighbourhoods. The camera acts as safety and speed surveillance.
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Make GPS devices displaying allowed speed limits a mandatory thing in cars

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Povilas S
Povilas S Jun 28, 2022
One of the main reasons it's hard to keep your vehicle speed below the limits is that it's complicated to always notice the signs on time, sometimes the signs and their allowed limits change very frequently in short distances.
I liked driving with a proper GPS device (not google navigation), because it displayed the allowed speed limits in different areas I was driving through. This is especially useful when you travel abroad by car, but it's also useful in your local area. You always see the allowed limit and your actual speed (which, by the way, is more accurately displayed by GPS than the car's dashboard which always gives an upper buffer, meaning your actual speed is lower than that displayed on the dashboard).
I know that now perhaps the majority of newly manufactured cars have GPS systems installed in their interior, but such devices could be made mandatory to have in all cars, the driver should take care of having one in their vehicle. Maybe they could be handed out for free by the government, the road police, etc.
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Spook Louw
Spook Louw3 months ago
I think Google Maps also has the option of monitoring your speed and letting you know when you are exceeding the speed limit, so most people should really already have access to this. But you're right, this will definitely help reduce speeding in general.
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Povilas S
Povilas S3 months ago
Spook Louw Google says that "speed limits feature" is only available in certain locations. The "speedometer" feature is active on my phone, I just checked it, however, it doesn't display me if I'm driving under/over the allowed limit. I never got that feature active on my phone, nor in my country nor in other places where I've used their navigation abroad.
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Spook Louw
Spook Louw3 months ago
Povilas S Thanks for checking. In South Africa it notifies you when you breach the speed limit.
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Prevention by exposure to potential consequences

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Miloš Stanković
Miloš Stanković Jul 12, 2022
Have the people who were caught speeding in a residential part of town pay the fine but also do some sort of societally valuable work in schools and kindergartens. With the note that you are there to mow the lawn, pick up litter, or what not, but also to witness the joy and innocence that your reckless driving could've ended.
Or have them do some work at the graveyards when the funerals are being done so they can see what pain losing someone produces. Or make them observe a support group for people who have lost their loved ones due to traffic. Drilling in potential consequences of their selfishness.
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Spook Louw
Spook Louw2 months ago
Perhaps offenders can be sentenced to help regulate traffic or be given shifts as crossing guards.
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Place real-life photos of kids above speed limit signs

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Miloš Stanković
Miloš Stanković Aug 10, 2022
Instead of having just a sign that states a speed limit in numbers, there can be another sign above it with a stock photo of a young kid on it, the same size as the sign. With a statement "Maria walks here" or "Mario plays around here". With the goal of reminding the drivers of the kids that traverse the neighbourhood.
If the parents are ok with it, the photos can be of the kids in the neighbourhood. Because there is a chance that the drivers will be familiar with them and have an extra incentive or feeling of duty to slow down.
It's a more personal, human take on the "school zone" sign that should be more effective than stick figures.
If the photos are too much, there can just be a sign "150 kids live in 200 metre radius" above the speed limit.
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Car companies should strictly manufacture sensor-enabled cars

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Shubhankar Kulkarni
Shubhankar Kulkarni May 03, 2022
The sensor technology that detects pedestrians and other cars in front is already available. The sensor system then overrides manual driving and stops if they sense an animal, person, or another car in front, if the speed is beyond a threshold, say 20 kmph.
Car companies should be advised to manufacture at least a percentage of cars that have this technology. Every year, the percentage increases until it reaches 100%.
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Povilas S
Povilas S5 months ago
I think that might be the best solution:)
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Spook Louw
Spook Louw5 months ago
Povilas S Shubhankar Kulkarni I agree that this would be very effective. It would take a long time before all vehicles are equipped with this technology though. In the same way, when we perfect self-driving cars, this should not be a problem anymore. The trick is trying to have an effect on the number of accidents in the meantime.
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Shubhankar Kulkarni
Shubhankar Kulkarni5 months ago
Spook Louw Hence, start with 20% of the cars and increase the number gradually. This seem to have worked with green energy-enabled cars.
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Retractable speed bumps

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Spook Louw
Spook Louw May 03, 2022
Speed bumps that retract into the ground when an emergency vehicle approaches it.
Why?
The benefits of a speed bump, without the disadvantages it holds for emergency vehicles.
How it works
Speed bumps are designed with a special hydraulic system that allows them to appear and disappear as needed. Emergency vehicles can be fitted with special sensors that send a signal to all speedbumps in the path of the vehicles to retract, allowing them to pass unhindered.
The biggest disadvantage of this solution is that it would require a pricey overhaul of existing speed bumps, and would probably also be quite expensive to implement and maintain.
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Povilas S
Povilas S5 months ago
Some drivers could also try to improvise devices that send the signal to retract speedbumps. If someone made such a product it would be in demand on a black market.
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Optical illusions

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Spook Louw
Spook Louw May 02, 2022
Some communities have resorted to painting 3-dimensional roadsigns on roads. I think this is a very creative approach. However, this is something that will only work once or twice. As soon as a community becomes accustomed to it it will no longer be effective.

[1]https://rac.com.au/car-motoring/info/state-creative-traffic-calming

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Any art to attract attention

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Povilas S
Povilas S May 04, 2022
Any interesting/beautiful/unusual enough object could work to make the drivers slow down or even stop to take a better look at it. It can, but doesn't have to be an optical illusion/3D painting as suggested by Spook Louw.
There are two important things to note here. First - it should be placed at a spot where it wouldn't be dangerous for the driver to look at it for too long because this could lead to an accident due to the driver's sight being taken off the road. So it should preferably be placed on the road itself, for example - in between the opposite direction lanes (if it's a 3D object) or painted on the surface of the road as in the cover image.
Second - the objects/paintings at the same spot should be changed frequently to make drivers already familiar with the same sight get interested again. This could be a project/public initiative for artists to come up with ideas what to paint/sculpt on or near the road to make the drivers slow down and take a look at it.
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General comments

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Michaela D
Michaela D5 months ago
Maybe this is what we're looking for: automatic speed limiters in cars. According to this article they are to be introduced in all cars in the UK after July 2022. The speed limiters detect the speed limit on the road you are driving, they warn you if you are exceeding the limit and if you do not slow down, they do it for you.
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Spook Louw
Spook Louw5 months ago
Michaela D This seems like an excellent way forward. I read through some of the concerns, but I still think this is probably the most effective option at the moment. My biggest issue would be: What happens when there is an emergency and drivers need to break the speed limit? Would there be an override function, and if so, what would prevent people from just always overriding the system?
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Michaela D
Michaela D5 months ago
Spook Louw I was having the same concern as you. How about this: drivers can break the speed limit but the police is automatically notified. The car will send a signal that it is breaking the speed limit due to an emergency. Later, the driver will have to explain the emergency (heading to a hospital, fire, etc...). This will make people be objective with the emergencies (being late to work is not an objective emergency!).
The signaling is the trickiest part: maybe radio wives similar to a distress signal?
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