Technology

3-D speed bumps

Forget humps in the road, the coolest thing in traffic calming is 3-D drawings.

In addition to being the latest cinematic fad, 3-D is also the latest in virtual speed-bump design. A drawing of a girl playing with a pink ball on a road in West Vancouver has a trompe-l’oeil effect on drivers, making it rise up in 3-D realism to anyone 30 feet away. “Pavement Patty,” as she’s been dubbed, is part of a $15,000 safety program led by the BCAA Traffic Safety Foundation and the public awareness group Preventable.ca, and she will remain in place until Sept. 22.

More than 2,600 pedestrians are injured from motor-vehicle-related accidents in B.C. every year, and as many as 67 of those die as a result. Police will be monitoring impact of the fake girl on traffic; she was designed to jolt drivers into paying attention but give those travelling at the street’s recommended 30 kilometres per hour enough time to stop. David Duane of BCAA told CTV news any fears that accidents could be caused from people swerving to avoid Patty are misplaced, because the image looks obviously “static.” In 2008, a similar campaign was underway in Philadelphia called “Drive CarePhilly” that used 3-D drawings of road spikes designed to work as virtual speed bumps. The city’s streets commissioner found that a month later, the average speed along that stretch of road dropped by 38 km/h, bringing it under the speed limit.