Musical Highway

Where the Streets Sing

Bumps in the road are usually thought of as a bad thing, but these are bumps we’re sure you’ll welcome. What are we talking about? Musical highways. Made to make music, these roads have steel grooves built into them that cause your tires to vibrate and produce notes.

How does it work?

The grooves cause the tires to vibrate. Spacing is incredibly important here, as the difference in notes depends on just 5mm. The grooves resemble those annoying but essential rumble strips.

Musical roads are known to exist in six countries: Denmark, Japan, South Korea, the United States of America, Mexico, and San Marino. There are two musical highways located here in the United States1.

The first is a section of the historic Route 66 between Albuquerque and Tijeras called The Musical Highway. The highway was created as a part of the National Geographic’s show Crowd Control, a science intervention show that attempts to change social behavior using fun and facts. In this experiment they attempt to get roadsters to slow down on the iconic highway2. How? The only way you can hear the song, “America the Beautiful”, is if you go the speed limit: 45 mph.

The second road in the U.S. is located Lancaster, California, where “William Tell Overture” plays for drivers going 55 mph. Sources say the attraction was originally created near a residential area, but unhappy residents forced the grooves to be paved over. However, the city received support to build another one in a more musical highway-friendly area2.

Experience it yourself next time you visit the above locations or check them out here. You’ll want to watch the entire video — there’s a surprise at the end!