Bumps are Old School

A recent nationwide survey shows traffic engineers rank driver-feedback signs as the fastest, longest-lasting way to slow speeding traffic on residential streets and around school zones. In addition, manufacturers have stated that use of radar speed signs increased dramatically in 2006, reflecting the growing popularity of new traffic-calming technologies among city planners and traffic engineers.

According to IDC (Information Display Company,) a nationwide distributor of traffic-calming solutions, sales of its radar speed signs increased by more than 50 percent in 2006 over the previous year. In addition, a growing number of these signs are being permanently mounted to fixed posts rather than temporarily installed.“It appears that the word has spread among city planners and engineers that the speed bump may be a thing of the past,” said Gary O’Dell, president of IDC.“We are finding a growing number of safety professionals looking for ways to slow speeders without increasing noise levels, impairing emergency vehicles, or causing other disruptive side effects often found with low-tech alternatives.”

In a 2006 national survey of police officers, traffic engineers, and safety professionals, driver feedback signs were identified as the most effective means of slowing traffic in neighborhoods and around schools and playgrounds. Ninety-seven percent of respondents agreed that driver feedback signs are effective at reducing traffic speeds as compared to less than 39 percent that believed speed bumps were effective.

“Unlike speed bumps or crosswalks, radar speed signs redirect the driver’s attention to his or her own speed,” said O’Dell. “This has a direct effect on driving behavior since most speeders are simply unaware of their actual rate of speed.”

The technology’s recent move from trial to mainstream industry adoption reflects other advantages that this type of sign can offer. For instance, the equipment is able to collect traffic data and can be programmed to turn on or off at various times of day. Unlike speed bumps, rumble strips, or most other old-tech solutions, radar speed signs can also be moved from location to location.

“Mobility has been a particularly attractive advantage for budget-strapped cities and school districts that have several locations requiring enforcement,” said O’Dell. “This economic advantage is certainly one of the reasons why this new technology has emerged from its initial trial period to what is now broad industry acceptance.”

For more information on radar speed signs, the 2006 traffic-calming survey or other related topics including traffic-calming studies and government grants, visit www.stopspeeders.org or www.informationdisplay.com.