Safety Through Singing Streets

November 27, 2007
A bit of bizarre news caught my attention recently and it got me thinking. It was about these roads in Japan that had been designed to play music as cars drive over them. The engineers behind this idea cut thousands of grooves into the roadway, separated them by certain specific intervals, and then drove their cars. What resulted is a weird humming melody that reverberates in the cars as they drive. The video linked below showing the roads and their songs is awesome, but so much more could be done.

These singing streets are an impressive novelty, but this idea could be far better utilized to improve road safety. Using this same sort of groove-cutting, sound-producing method, it seems like road engineers could make major progress in the reduction of traffic accidents.

Slicing grooves into new roads as they approach intersections and stop signs, for instance, would be a pretty simple way to keep drivers alert. Maybe I’m trivializing a major engineering feat, I don’t really know. But it seems fairly reasonable to me, especially since most of the hard work has already been done by the innovative engineers at Japan’s Hokkaido Industrial Research Institute...