Calming traffic

Written by: Eureka! | Published:
The best idea I heard of was (compulsory fittitng of) electronically controlled engine speed ...

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Speed humps and bumps, lane narrowing obstructions, stop signs and a multitude of traffic calming measures are the bane of the suburban driver’s life.

Not only do they provide a veritable obstacle course on the way to and from work, the school run or the supermarket, they can do some serious wear and tear to your vehicle. In more extreme cases, they can slow emergency vehicles down affecting the amount of time taken to get to an incident, casualty or fire.

However, there is clearly a need for them to be there; be that to stop speeding in residential areas or to stop heavy traffic flow from badly congested main roads from cutting through.

The challenge

This month’s challenge, then, is to come up with a better method of traffic calming. Something that causes the least disruption to those of us who abide by the Highway Code, but stops reckless drivers from being able to speed through suburban roads, car parks and industrial estates.

Think about what kind of technologies could be employed in your more efficient traffic calming method, perhaps it’s a simply a materials selection issue, or a bit of both? Whichever way you go with your design, try to avoid a design that would destroy the vehicle or hurt its occupants!

The idea we have in mind will be revealed in the June issue of Eureka! Until then see what you can come up with. Submit ideas by leaving a comment on the Coffee Time Challenge section of the Eureka! website or by emailing the editor:

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Coffee Time Challenge is just a bit of fun, but it is based on a real engineering solution. If you send in your ideas by using the comment button below, we can add your solution as an alternative – perhaps something funny, practical, cheap or, of course, innovative.

Speed bumps that raise up from the road surface when approached by a vehicle that is exceeding the speed limit but can be automatically overridden electronically by approaching emergency vehicles. The speed bumps would remain flush with the road surface for vehicles abiding by the speed limit....OR....speed limiters on every vehicle (except emergency vehicles), the speed limit being governed by the vehicles GPS position.
R Christopher
The best idea I heard of was (compulsory fittitng of) electronically controlled engine speed limiters, triggered by a linear strip in all carriage ways/lanes etc. This would also help to reduce the second-gear-I-like-the-noise speeders worst effects. One suspects that the strip could be a current based magnetic field and the pick up on the vehicle could be a simpler "magnet", partly to reduce tampering. Probably it would have to be backed up by a new section in the MOT test,which would have to be applied to all vehicles, and by severe penalties on any vehicle user found without (or with a disabled) device.
john moss

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