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Musical Roads
The Make blog is mentioning today Musical Roads in Japan. The idea is that sections of road have transverse grooves cut into them like "rumble strips", but spaced such that the varying pitch of the road noise sounds in the car like a musical tune. "Only in Japan" says

However... It seems to me that the tune should be speed dependent -- too fast, and it sounds like an LP at 45rpm (now there's a reference which will date me), too slow, a single at 33 1/3 rpm. As such, I suspect there'd be an aural feedback component that would keep drivers at close to the speed necessary to make it "sound right". And if the "recording speed" changed, drivers would probably change their speed to compensate.

I wonder if such a "musical road", cut to sound right at the speed limit, with the "recording speed" changed before the speed limit falls (and at the point where the speed limit rises), would be an effective way to encourage people to follow the speed limit.

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Not quite only in Japan

I've only ever heard rumors about this, but...

At Walt Disney World, there used to be a STOL (Short Take-Off/Landing) airstrip, before the entire property was declared restricted airspace. The rumor is that there were grooves along the STOL runway that when driven over sounded like the chorus to "Zip-A-Dee Doo Dah". I haven't heard of the concept anywhere else, but apparently Japan.

Just an interesting tidbit of Disney knowledge I have.


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