For something that has been around for 70 years, you would think that we would know what it’s called by now.

In Grand Island, we call it one thing, but in Buffalo, you may hear it called something else…and the reason why is shocking. 

Some people call it a speed bump. Others call it a speed hump. Then there are a select few people who use a technical term, such as traffic thresholds or speed breakers to describe the object on the road…but there is actually a difference. 

When Were “Traffic Control Bumps” Introduced?

Speed bumps were first invented by physicist Arthur Holly Compton in 1953. It was the first “traffic control bump” of its kind, and it was later designated the term “speed bump.” Initially, Compton created these to stop cars from speeding past his university. 

Are All “Traffic Control Bumps” Called A “Speed Bump?”

The short answer? No, and many people in Western New York began to catch wind of this when they started paying a little closer attention to road signs in the area. 

There’s actually an obvious difference between speed bumps and speed humps. 

What Is The Difference Between “Speed Bump” and “Speed Hump?”

While both the bumps and the humps are different approaches to slowing down motor vehicles, there are some distinctions between the two that make them different. 

A speed bump may be more likely to be found in a parking lot; however, the bumps are typically taller than a hump. They are often used in smaller areas where pedestrians and traffic share space equally, i.e. a parking lot. 

A speed hump is a bit different. A hump tends to be slightly smaller in height and longer in length. They are often used in areas where traffic flows fluidly. Speed humps may be found in more residential areas or neighborhoods. 

So… Is it a speed bump or a speed hump

It really depends on how tall it is and how long it is, but a road sign usually indicates its proper term. 

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