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City Councils Considering Removing Speed Bumps to Reduce Air Pollution Should Slow Down
Speed bumps are generally installed to slow drivers enough to keep them moving at a safe speed, but some local city council members in the U.K. think that without them their towns would be less polluted. Because drivers slow down to pass speed bumps and accelerate after them (the argument goes) without speed bumps, drives would move at a more steady pace, use less gas, and produce less emissions, an argument that seems to completely misunderstand the process of induced demand.
"Vehicle pollution isn’t a national crisis because some traffic engineers got carried away with speed bumps or, to mention the other current idiocy of our times, because some councils have built bike lanes. It is because, to put it in the bluntest terms, people drive too often," Peter Walker points out in an editorial for The Guardian.
Speeding up streets by removing their speed bumps would increase their throughput and make driving a more attractive transit option. This would likely increase driving and, consequently, increase air pollution.