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Creating a 3D optical illusion for safer highways

Road Transport and Highways Ministry hopes painted speed breakers will prompt drivers to slow down

They are speed breakers with a third dimension but not in physical form. Motorists experience the optical illusion of a speed barrier on the road, and tend to slow down, improving road safety at accident-prone spots.

That is the government’s logic in opting for 3D paintings to be put up on roads, to act as virtual speed breakers.

“We are trying out 3D paintings used as virtual speed breakers to avoid unnecessary requirements of speed breakers,” Union Road Transport and Highways Minister Nitin Gadkari said on Twitter on Tuesday.

The Centre will experiment with the three-dimensional painting of speed bumps on a few highways to start with. “We will test it out in a couple of highways at one or two points. If it doesn’t cause any problem of road safety, we can experiment with it further,” National Highways Authority of India Chairman Raghav Chandra told The Hindu.

Around 1.5 lakh people are killed in road accidents every year in the country and the government aims to reduce fatalities by half by 2019.

Activists have, over the years, resorted to art to express displeasure over road conditions. Such 3D speed ‘barriers’ were used in Philadelphia to campaign against rash driving.

It has also been tried out in Australia, New Zealand and Europe.

Ministry of Road Transport sources said the idea came from the Union Urban Development Ministry.

“In Rajasthan, school students painted the highway in a particular manner to give it a 3D effect,” an official said.

“Virtual speed breakers are likely to result in reduction in vehicle speed without causing injuries to passengers and damage to the vehicle,” said Patanjali Dev Nayar, regional adviser for disability prevention and rehabilitation at the World Health Organisation.

On April 11, the Ministry directed all State governments to remove speed breakers on national highways as it “can be a source of serious hazards and accidents to the fast-moving vehicles.”

Against policy

The Ministry noted that local authorities were creating speed humps on national highways, contrary to the government’s policy.

Ministry sources said the proposal would be taken up at the first meeting of the Empowered Group of State Transport Ministers to be held here on April 29 to suggest ways to address road safety issues.

The group of State Ministers, headed by Rajasthan Transport Minister Yunus Khan, is mandated to suggest measures to minimise road accidents, improve the public transport system and recommend ways to boost the transport sector.

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Printable version | May 22, 2020 10:47:39 PM | https://www.thehindu.com/news/national/creating-a-3d-optical-illusion-for-safer-highways/article8525004.ece

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