Mike Stevens | Dec 13, 2008

A few months ago, my local shopping centre decided to shave the tops off the numerous speed bumps in its car park. Here I simply thought they’d realised what a ruddy annoyance speed bumps are, and that the size of these particular ones were unnecessarily tall and steep.

Alas, no. Weeks later, I discovered they’d shaved the tops off merely to prepare the surface for some additional height. I think they might have thrown a few more in too, just for good measure. At least I don’t have to take 4WDs off-road anymore to test their mountain climbing ability.

Designers Jae-yun Kim and Jong-Su Lee have devised a stunningly simple concept that just might save us all.

The idea is simple enough: each speed bump is fitted with retractors that stay closed (flat) if a car hits it at below 30km/h, and open (bump!) if a car hits the bump at any speed over 30km/h.

Kim and Lee’s speed bump concept has been created to reward those of us who agree with the need to drive slow in residential areas, school zones, and shopping complexes, and punish those who don’t. And in a broader, perhaps even more important sense, the constant stop-start driving required when travelling over speed bumps causes greater fuel consumption than is necessary.

“Encouraging drivers to retain a constant slow speed will reduce the amount of stops and starts made, and thus, the amount of exhaust waste from the car. It is hoped that this retractable speed hump would therefore have positive effects on energy consumption and pollution.”

speed-bump-regular

These new speed bumps would replace the regular, irritating and costly type, as shown above.

Kim and Lee hope to see their concept utilized, with a more environmentally-friendly approach to speed management being their ultimate goal.

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