Optical Illusion Creates Fake Speed Bumps

Frank, Jessica, Dan and few more of our loyal visitors pointed me to this interesting article about 3D Optical Illusions being used as a part of Philadelphia’s effort to slow down drivers speeding through local streets. I just read this article on CNN, and the basic idea is that rather than building real speed bumps on roads, optical illusion speed bumps are being tested that are intended to trick drivers into slowing down, only later to find that there was no bump after all. I’m all for great new ideas like this one, specially when they have something to do with illusions, but this one seems very flawed. Maybe an optical illusion bump would trick me once, but wouldn’t I learn pretty quickly where these fake bumps are located? Another problem would occur if I was driving a bike, and lost my control over it. I can also see people in the near future beginning to ignore real speed bumps thinking they are illusions, only to hit the bumps at 35 mph and getting a little unintended air. What do you think? In short: markings are designed to look like a 3-D pyramid from afar, National Highway Traffic Safety Administration is testing the “bumps”, they cost a fraction of real speed bumps and require little maintenance, in one location drivers slowed down, but the effect wore off after a few months.

31 Replies to “Optical Illusion Creates Fake Speed Bumps”

  1. That’s a cool idea, but those speed bumps don’t look like any speed bumps I’ve ever seen. Nice illusion though.

  2. We have these in Phoenix as well. They don’t work. The first time I saw them, I was a bit confused. I haven’t even thought about them since, and I drive over them daily.

  3. i agree they look nothing like real speedbumps, but they are on the right track.

    mix real and fake speedbumps throughout the city and switch them around periodically.

    the drivers who are fooled by the graphics will at least slow the pace of traffic for drivers who realized they were fake.

  4. because the camera has a lame position, imagine it from a different angle.

    from a distance the white lines probably look like those of a cross walk, and the white arrows with the shading behind it (giving it the 3D effects) resemble those of which we see every day. but it can only have ones side because you can’t see over the bump until you’re close in which time you’ve already slowed.

    also if you look at the shading of the arrows it looks like the 3D box effect where you can’t tell if the corner faces in or out.

    another idea is because of the 3D technique used, it would only work coming from one side. it would be too awkward if you had the arrows pointing the other way on the opposite side.

    i’m guessing that because of the harsh light portrayed from the cement, the box illusion wouldn’t work as well considering the lines had to be white- leaving them less visible with the lack of a re-angling curb. therefore they put the yellow (a common speed bump color) there to solidify the arrows, with streaks of black to give it depth.

    at first i thought it was supposed to be tall spike things.

    also the shadowing density on the arrows would only be accurate a fraction of the day, making this a bad illusion because it would be too awkward in your head, except humans could easily be subconsciously anaware..

    i dunno, i think it’s overall bad

  5. In Brazil, where I live, it’s very common this kind of illusion, in soccer stadiums. He puts in border of game area banners that, in the view-point of the television’ spectatores, have the illusion that they are 3D.

  6. The reason that they made them like that is to give it more depth. although in there quest they made them lose reality. but if you were driving along you wouldn’t care you wouldn’t see it in time

  7. I can’t imagine this actually working. Like the post from Phoenix stated, maybe once but not the next time you drive over them.
    BTW joey: it only should work one direction, if you were coming the other way you would be driving into oncoming traffic!

  8. Isn’t this a bit dangerous…tricking drivers into believing something is there when it isn’t? Is it not possible for them to put real ones there or something?
    Anyway..since when did speedbumps look like that?!

  9. maybe they would be better of putting down those fake potholes that u posted earlier because they wouldnt be as recognizable

  10. it looks more like a set of skateboard ramps with an obstacle in between. other than that i have no idea how it looks like a speed bump.

  11. It’s a great idea and all, but as it’s already been stated on several occasions, the execution is a bit lacking. Though, they are cheaper and easier than the real thing, it’s a safty issue so wouldn’t spending a little more time, effort and money on it be a good thing?

    Maybe they could do the illusion for a bit, then once that effect wore off, put in a real speed bump. I have no sympathy for the people that hit that too fast and get “unintentional air.” They shouldn’t have been going that fast to begin with.

  12. I think the point is, they aren’t supposed to look like a speed bump that we are used to. I think you are supposed to slow down to see what it is in the road. It looks like (if it were 3D) it is going to cause damage to your car due to the angles.

  13. people should be greatful and not discourage the illusions that are shown. Just enjoy them even if they aint that great.
    ;D full sick illusion btw.

  14. in the netherlands we have some fake bumps 2 for a while now
    like in the north of the nl at the place waterhuizen… its all red with the white stripings as they should be when there real but when u drive over it its just flat ^^

    greeting ehlonna

  15. I live in Philadelphia, and I’ve seen these before. I never knew what they were supposed to be… They failed to trick me.

  16. I dunno… I think that if some people fell for the illusion, there could be some problems worse than what they were put there for in the first place. And I don’t understand how those could fool people anyway; they look more like triangles than speed humps, but who am I to talk? I live in Pakistan where all people need to do is -slow down when driving-.

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