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Colored Asphalt Warns Drivers Of Speed Limit Changes

Posted in driving, Legal, Newsworthy, Police, Traffic, Travel by Kurt Ernst | January 3rd, 2011 | 2 Responses |

Image: Gulf News

Here’s an interesting concept: rather than relying on signage to convey a drop in the speed limit, officials in Abu Dhabi City have paved stretches of road in red asphalt (not to be confused with the driver’s education horror film, “Red Asphalt”) to warn drivers of the change. Signage is still posted, and the new speed limit is also painted on the road surface, giving drivers three clear indicators of the change in speed. Since the new system only went into effect last Saturday (New Year’s Day), it’s too early to tell if it’s had an impact on reducing speeds, but it certainly is eye catching.

Don’t expect to see a system like this in the U.S. any time soon. First, colored asphalt costs more money than plain asphalt, and I’m not aware of any states with a budget surplus for paving. The federal government certainly isn’t going to spend more money on maintaining interstate highways, since they can’t even afford to fix what’s already broken (driven I-95 north from Florida lately?). Besides, traffic enforcement in the U.S. is more about revenue generation than it is about driver safety, especially at the city and county level. Additional warning of a pending change in speed isn’t going to net police agencies any more revenue.

Source: Gulf News, via Autoblog

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2 Responses

  1. Hal (RSA) says:

    Wow. That’s a pretty cool idea. I wonder how much the color change adds to the cost of laying the asphalt. Though I gather from what you posted it’s expensive.

    Sadly I think you’re right about the revenue mindset in regard to traffic enforcement. I think one of the greatest examples are of the stop light cameras popping up all over the place.

    • Kurt Ernst says:

      Hal, from what I know about paving, you’d need to bring in special aggregate and couldn’t use conventional binders. Smaller volume always equals higher cost; I don’t know exactly what that would be, but any additional cost when is comes to paving roads is generally a deal-killer (unless it results in longer road-surface life).