Most drivers and pedestrians have encountered one or more types of speed bumps. There are several different types, each with its own specific purpose when it comes to traffic and parking lot management.
Street speed bumps, known as traffic calming features are designed to cause drivers to slow down significantly in order to go over them safely. Placed across the entire roadway, with a space on either side for drainage, the raised road surface is a bump in the road with heights typically ranging between three and four inches. The depth of the bumps are typically less than one foot. The bumps serve as a reminder to drivers to watch their speed and making it impossible to drive too fast through the areas in which traffic calming features have been placed.
Commercial speed bumps on streets and in parking lots tend to be larger and made of high impact materials, such as concrete or asphalt. They can have stripes or the entire surface painted in embedded reflective tape or highly visible paint colors, such as yellow or orange.
In residential areas, this type of traffic calming feature is used to reduce the rate at which the motor vehicle travels in high traffic or areas that have had racing or other traffic related problems. These bumps are typically smaller in size and are made of lower impact materials, such as recycled plastic or rubber. They may also be painted orange or yellow or embedded with reflective tape for easy visibility, day or night.
Speed humps are used for the same purpose as speed bumps, but they are designed to be driven over at rates of travel of up to twenty miles per hour without having to stop or slow down. This type of traffic calming feature is wider than the typical bump in that they are typically ten to fourteen feet in-depth. Unlike the smaller traffic calming devices, which are intended to make drives stop abruptly, speed humps are designed to encourage a gradual stop and to remind drivers to maintain the speed limit. Speed humps can be used for different traffic and parking situations; however, they are primarily used in residential areas.
Poorly designed raised road features can be hard to negotiate in vehicles with low clearance even at slow speeds. These traffic calming devices can also pose a hazard to motorcycles, bicyclists, and even pedestrians if not visibly marked. In some cases, the speed bump will be designed so that a break in the bump in the middle of the road allows two-wheel vehicles to pass without having to pass over the bump.
Controlling vehicle speed with a speed bump or speed hump is the most effective method to improve the safety of a parking lot, driveway or private lane. High visibility speed bumps and signs are the best way to communicate to drivers to keep their speed to a minimum.