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INTEREST: Want to save the earth? Get rid of speed humps


‘Smart’ speed bumps being developed in Mexicospeedtopper

Speed bumps are so common in Mexico (as in Singapore) that residents sometimes decorate them for the holidays, painting “Happy New Year” or “Happy Independence Day.” One rock band, The Sam-Sam, even has dedicated a song to them.

Yet concerns over the environment — and the utter annoyance of having to brake and accelerate frequently — have prompted one Mexican state government to embrace a “smart” speed bump that could make driving smoother, without sacrificing safety.

The government of Mexico state, the populous state that surrounds Mexico City on three sides, sees enough promise in it that it is providing grant money and legal help to get the invention patented in Mexico and abroad.

A study by Mexico City Autonomous University in 2006 found that cars traveling over speed bumps used significantly more fuel and emitted more pollutants.

There are at least 18,000 speed bumps in central Mexico City alone, according to the government. Few police officers have radar guns, and speeders who are caught usually get off with a warning by paying a bribe of a few dollars, Camba says.

“So the government takes the easy way out and builds a speed bump,” Camba says. “Or sometimes neighbors just get so frustrated that they build one themselves. It’s a symptom of a lack of respect for the law.”

The speed bump will require no electricity, costs about $1,500 per lane and will last about 10 years with annual $50 maintenance, Cano says.

The mechanical version can be set for speeds up to 25 mph, but the company also has an electric prototype that can be used in faster speed zones.

Some drivers have doubts.

“I think they’ll get stolen, or they’ll break because the government doesn’t maintain anything,” says Marielena Ramírez, 27. “They should just get rid of speed bumps, not try to make them smarter.”

Source: www.usatoday.com

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