Optical illusions used to slow drivers down in London

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A programme in London aimed to slow drivers down using optical illusions has been rolled out across further locations in the capital after a successful trial.

Virtual speed bumps have been painted on some of London's busiest roads and in residential areas to slow drivers down.


Transport for London (TfL) first tested the idea in November 2014 on the A117 in the borough of Newham. Last year the markings were also painted on Southwark Street in South London, the BBC reported.

The 2D design gives the illusion that there is a speed bump on the road, causing drivers to slow down for a bump which isn't actually there. It's part of a greater strategy to reduce speeds without actually using any speed bumps.

TfL aimed to reduce traffic speeds through the project. Nine months after being painted onto the road, average speeds successfully reduced by three mph. TfL has since painted the bumps in 45 locations around London, although unsurprisingly it won't disclose the locations of these. Other London boroughs have also adopted the practise.

While TfL only manages five per cent of London's roads, it does look after the capital's busiest areas, carrying 30 per cent of all traffic in the city.

Nigel Hardy, head of road space management sponsorship at TfL, said: "We are working hard to create a road network which is free from death or serious injury.

"The Vision Zero approach to reducing road danger includes testing the effectiveness of 20mph limits on parts of TfL's road network.

"As part of these trials a number of different measures – including new signs, road markings and painted speed bumps – are being introduced to reduce traffic speeds."

By Ted Welford