CASE STUDY: Singing / Musical Roads

How to do it (the NM333 Musical Road in Tijeras, New Mexico playing ‘America the Beautiful’ at 45 MPH – watch above) as opposed to how not to do it (the Avenue K Civic Musical Road in Lancaster, California playing the ‘William Tell Overture’ at 55 MPH badly and out of tune – watch below).

There are four other singing or Musical Roads in the world, all of which use fluctuations in the road (bumps, grooves or rumble strips) to produce sound. They are listed below, along with their track choices:

1. The Asphaltophone, Gylling, Denmark: This, constructed in 1995, was the world’s first musical road. The road doesn’t play a full piece – just a few chord sounds – but it has the best name of the lot.

2. The Melody Roads, Japan (in Hokkaido, Wakayama and Gunma): Each of these short strips of musical road in Japan plays 30 second clips of Japanese ballads. A cluster of giant music notes on the road warns drivers that they’re approaching a singing section.

3. Singing Road, Anyang, South Korea: According to official figures, around 68 per cent of trafffic accidents in South Korea take place because drivers are intattentive or asleep at the wheel. Singing roads both blare noise at drivers and force them to pay attention to keep the melody going, so could act as a solution to this problem. However, South Korea’s singing road plays “Mary had a little Lamb” – probably not the best choice to keep drivers awake at the wheel.

4. Singing Highway, Jelsum, Netherlands: A singing road was installed near the village of Jelsum in Friesland. The Friesland provincial anthem (De Alde Friezen) would play if drivers obeyed the speed limits, otherwise the song would play off-key. After complaints from villagers, the singing road was removed.

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