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There isn’t any single solution to make drivers stick to speed limits and it’s a particular problem in suburban areas, where road humps and other traffic-calming measures may not always be appropriate — or welcomed by residents.

Road safety organisations in West Vancouver, Canada, however, are testing a new traffic-calming measure as part of a back-to-school pilot scheme to make drivers aware of the risks faced by schoolchildren.

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The non-invasive measure uses of the long established trick of anamorphosis to make a two-dimensional image painted onto the road surface appear three-dimensional on approach. The image chosen is of a small child reaching for a ball in the middle of the road — a sight that should make drivers more aware of what’s on the road, assuming they see it at all, of course.

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Since the image gradually becomes three-dimensional on approach rather than pop-up suddenly, the engineers behind the initiative reckon that it won’t startle drivers or cause them to swerve. Although the road where it’s being tested is being monitored as part of the pilot scheme.

There has been considerable debate about the effectiveness of such traffic-calming measures since the launch of the pilot scheme earlier this week, mostly centred on the risk of desensitising drivers about the sight of a child in the road.