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London is using optical illusions to make cars slow down

London is using optical illusions to make cars slow down
[Photo: Flickr user Davide D’Amico]

London has implemented an interesting idea to curb speeding: magic. The British capital has painted optical illusions on its streets as part of a pilot program to get drivers to slow down, according to podcast 99% Invisible. The idea is both simple and clever: Paint the streets to look like they have speed bumps on them, but don’t use finite city resources to actually build speed bumps into the road. The 18-month pilot program was launched in September of last year, according to the BBC, and the city is still determining whether the black-and-white stencils are as effective as actual bumps to deter drivers from exceeding 20 mph (as if traffic in London ever goes faster than 20 mph).

The fake bumps are not the first time optical illusions have been deployed for traffic safety. Last year we wrote about the Indian city of Ahmedabad experimenting with striped crosswalks that look like roadblocks. And if you’re wondering what the difference is between a speed bump, lump, and hump, 99% Invisible breaks it down.

ML