It seems that the latest idea from Japanese road engineers is in tune with my ideas on road calming. Instead of speed humps as traffic calming a team from the Hokkaido Industrial Research Institute has built a number of "melody roads", which use cars as tuning forks to play music as they drive along.
This melodic idea works by using grooves, which are cut at very specific intervals in the road surface. Just as travelling over small speed bumps or road markings can emit a rumbling tone throughout a vehicle, the melody road uses the spaces between to create different notes.
Depending on how far apart the grooves are, a car moving over them will produce a series of high or low notes, enabling cunning designers to create a distinct tune.
There are so far three musical strips in central and northern Japan, one of which plays the tune of a Japanese pop song. You are warned of the tuned area by coloured musical notes painted on to the road. The system was the brainchild of Shizuo Shinoda, who accidentally scraped some markings into a road with a bulldozer before driving over them and realising that they helped to produce a variety of tones.
The speed for achieving melody road playback is set at 28mph at the moment but experiments continue for tuneful lower speed music. It is said to work both ways go too fast and you hear a discordant racket, and too slow sounds like our familiar rumble strip