Thursday, December 02, 2010

The future of road safety : Will there be roads without speed-breakers ?

One of the most troublesome things that all of us have experienced on the roads are the jerks that are caused by the frequent road-bumbs or speed breakers, that are laid on the roads in accident-prone areas. While these speed breakers are good for controlling the speeding drivers and calming the traffic, at the same time they also come with the problems caused by the jerks that even the slow drivers are sure to go through. This may be okay for most of the people most of the time, but would be very annoying for others. The most probable victims of these jerks are small kids / infants, pregnant ladies, senior citizens, sick and disabled people and injured persons.

The question here is, can one imagine having roads without these bumpy speed breakers ? What we are talking about here is, not to have roads without speed breakers but an alternative way of controlling the speeding traffic. In other words, an advanced technology that slows down the traffic, but does so without having the jerks as it's side effects. If you are going the right speed, then you don't have to go through the troble of jerks. We can go through some of the most innovative ideas that can serve this purpose.

One of the ways to do it, is to have fake pained speed bumps on road. This is detailed here, but as it's mentioned in the article itself, it does not help for a long term. It just has it's effect until the people find out.

Another idea could be this. All the speed breaker be replaced with mechanical automatically operated speed breakers, that stay flat on the road level normally. But if they sense a speeding vehicle approaching, they instanteniously pop out from under the ground, getting converted into the regular shaped speed bumps that we have today. This method will be very costly, but can possibly help.

Another possibility, is that all the roads have radar sensors that the police do have setup at many places. However, this cannot be implemented practially in all the places at all the times. It also does not guarantee that a speeding driver will follow the limits, if they know that the traffic police is not around.

Yet another possibility could be, to have a mandatory system inbuilt into all the vehicles. This system, which could be a tiny device fitted inside the vehicle could monitor the speed at all times. Second, there could be another set of controlling devices laid out all over the roads, under the ground or maybe inside the sidewalks or dividers or inside the road lights. These controlling devices and the monitoring devices could follow a common communication protocol and keep each other synchronized as long as the vehicle is on the road. Then, the monitoring device could get instructions from the controling device about the maximum speed limit. If the speed limit is crossed at any time, the monitoring device could alarm the driver, as well as inform the controlling device, which could track down the vehicle from the monitoring device's ID. This sounds like a complicated idea, but it could be very economic and very effective if implemented the right way.

Finally, one possible idea could be, to have all the traffic monitored via satellite at all times. This means also, to have a system located centrally, that tracks down each an every vehicle on all the roads for the speed and location and alerts the traffic authorities if it finds a speeding vehicle. This seems more like a possibility, looking at the way GPS navigation has evolved today.

All in all, when one comes to think of it, there are countless possible ways to control the traffic without having the need for speed bumps that we have today. What is needed is just an innovative approach and a serious implementation done in this direction. But one thing is for sure, some day in the future we shall drive the roads without speed bumps. The traffic will be more regulated than it is today, and we will experience safer and smoother driving than we do today. Sometime, we can say goodbye to the annoying jerks. Ouch!! Sorry, it was a bump.

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