Speed cameras lower speeds and prevent crashes, new research confirms

The Safe System approach to preventing traffic deaths and serious injuries requires us to rethink every aspect of our transportation system, from road and vehicle design to our pervasive car culture. Many communities have found that automated traffic enforcement is one valuable step along the way. As more of these systems are deployed, researchers continue building knowledge about how they work and where they are most effective.  

Some bias is evident when ticketing speeders in Burlington, Vermont

The negative safety effects of speeding are well established. The enforcement of speed limits is justified to reduce crashes. But does officer discretion when giving tickets result in bias against one group or another? The results of an analysis of speeding stops in Burlington, VT, show that young drivers, male drivers, and drivers belonging to what the researchers termed a non-white “minority” group are more likely to receive a speeding ticket, rather than a warning.

Houston paper: Metro area worst in nation for traffic fatalities, speeding at fault

Reporters from the Houston Chronicle looked at 16 years of national data for traffic fatalities, and they were shocked by the statistics for their area. Houston has the deadliest overall traffic safety record for the 12 largest metro areas studied, and ranks in the top half in all categories of crashes. They identify speeding as the principal factor in the region’s safety problems, although a number of factors combine to make the area deadly.

Federally funded data as a speed-management tool

Another pedestrian fatality happened about two miles from SSTI Central when a car traveling over 100 mph hit a couple walking on the sidewalk along an urban boulevard. It is just one of some 40,000 traffic fatalities the United States is likely to see this year. SSTI has been interested in whether data now being provided to state DOTs in order to measure delay—the National Performance Management Research Data Set (NPMRDS)—might be applied to address speeding danger as well.

What’s stopping automated speed enforcement?

Automated speed enforcement systems have proven effective in U.S. cities, but despite the proven safety benefits of ASE and its prevalence internationally, it has been adopted in only 14 U.S. states and the District of Columbia. A recent case study of Washington, DC’s experience provides strong evidence for the safety benefits of speed enforcement cameras. A 2012 survey in Minnesota found that a slight majority of respondents supported the concept of ASE and over 80 percent supported the use of ASE in construction and survey zones. So what’s stopping increased adoption?

Instant rewards, penalties, and feedback are shown to change driver behavior

A new study shows that tiny financial losses can improve motorists’ compliance with speed limits. The study’s researchers found that the psychology of losing money, even just a few pennies, as well as the instant feedback of seeing the money trickling away, almost completely eliminated speeding. Hybrid drivers often experience the same instant feedback by watching their dashboard mileage monitor in real time. As drivers become more comfortable with continuous monitoring of vehicle operations and instant feedback on their own behavior, both safety and efficiency can be expected to improve.