Slow down cars with trees.

Traffic calming schemes are frequently unpopular with drivers; speed bumps and oddly-placed bollards make life uncomfortable.

In Norfolk, England, a new scheme is being presented that slows traffic without even touching the road or obstructing the driver.

Two hundred trees have been planted at the boundaries of villages suffering from speeding drivers, and it is the trees that fool drivers into slowing; they are in rows down each side of the road, and as they approach the village, they get slightly closer together, and slightly closer to the road.

Seen only in the driver's peripheral vision, the trees give the same subliminal visual clues as increasing speed would, and drivers respond by unconsciously slowing down.  The illusion has slowed traffic by an average of about 3km per hour.

The illusion has been used before (rumble strips on the approaches to roundabouts are spaced more and more closely together to create an audible illusion of acceleration), but the more subtle nature of the tree-planting makes it less obvious, and thus harder to resist. 

Provisionally seen as a success, more detailed, longer-term results are to be presented to the Department of Transport in the Autumn, with a view to rolling it out on B-roads nationally.

The Independent


sort by: active | newest | oldest
Jayefuu7 years ago
Looks like the BBC threw together some awful graphics so they could tag along with the story too:
Sunbanks7 years ago
I recall reading something about how they placed a cardboard cut out of Brad Pitt on a street corners in Russia to get drivers to slow 

This isn't where I originally read it, but it's pretty much the same.  
Weird... but at least it works!
Kryptonite7 years ago
I think it's good that they're not actually modifying the road, or making driver have to reduce their speed because of impedements.
That's really awesome. It's one of those simple laws of nature that are astounding when used practically.
kelseymh7 years ago

Very, very cool! Hopefully somebody, somewhere, will put up some pictures. At a minimum, you'd think the Norfolk public works folks (whatever you call them over there :-) would have the drawings they gave to the contractor....sigh.

You know, that title of yours made me think of an entirely different way to slow down traffic with trees...."No really, officer, the tree jumped right in front of my car!"

You know, that title of yours made me think of an entirely different way to slow down traffic with trees...." Yeah, me too :-) Just the scenic route can sometimes slow drivers some....thus the city I live in is called the city of trees. Except for a few blocks at and away from center city, we have a lot of trees around here (telephone line and sidewalk nuscience, really).
Jayefuu7 years ago
Smart :D Surprised this hasn't made it onto yet. You should submit a tip. Also... got a picture of said trees?
Kiteman (author)  Jayefuu7 years ago
No - it's been on the local TV, but no useful images off the web yet.