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speed humps and traffic circles -

We’ll start with the speed bump/hump

It is believed that the first appearance of speed humps came into being in 1906 in Chatham, New Jersey
(USA) when the New York times reported that the municipality planned to raise the crosswalks by five
inches in order to slow motor vehicle traffic so as to provide further safety for pedestrians crossing the
roads. At the time, the average vehicle’s top speed was around 48km/h (30mph). Pretty hilarious when you
consider that 120 years later cars are zooming around on highways at legal speeds of 120km/h. However, the
difference between then and now is the braking distance. Cars of old had extremely poor braking capabilities
whereas now a car travelling at 60km/h has an average braking speed of 6.87 seconds.

Traffic circles, or roundabouts as they are known across the world, have been with us for centuries. Think
the Circus in Bath, Somerset, England (1768), the famous Arc de Triomphe in Paris, France (1780) or
Monument Circle in Indianapolis, Indiana (1821). That last one brings to mind the Indy 500. Guess they
really like their big circles over there.

Moving on.

These first roundabouts, however, were huge and designed as a means to regulate enormous traffic flow. As
a result, they weren’t very widely used at all. In fact, it was only in the 1960’s when Frank Blackmore, a
British airman and traffic engineer, on behalf of the UK’s Transport Research Laboratory developed and
invented the ‘mini roundabout’ that the roundabout we are all familiar with today, came into being.

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