Traffic camera rewards non-speeders with lotto-style prize
You’ve heard of that cool website, TheFunTheory.com, right? You know the one, that Volkswagen-backed behavioural economics-ish site that was behind the “Piano Staircase” video that went viral a while back.
Well, the initiative is back making headlines again today, having awarded its Fun Theory award for best innovation.
And, pardon all the similar talk this week, but here’s another post on lotteries. The Fun Theory’s top prize went to an American inventor, whose idea of a “Speed Camera Lottery” really has to be seen.
You can check out the Speed Camera Lottery video here, but perhaps the images and indie-pop soundtrack downplay the possible real-world ingenuity of the proposal.
Because, this is something that could – nay, should – just work if policy makers can get it in play.
The premise is this, simple but brilliant: much like those show-your-speed radar guns you see on some roadsides, Fun Theory participants set up one of the devices at a major European intersection with a camera attached.
The gun/camera’s purpose was, then, twofold. Like a red-light traffic cam, the contraption snapped license plate photos of speeders and issued them tickets through the mail. Yet what it did with non-speeders is where we should pay attention.
For every non-speeder that passed the camera, someone who drove through under the posted limit, their plate was captured, too, and entered into a lotto-style draw. All non-speeders would be eligible for a reward from a pot made up of the cash paid in fines by speeders. If your plate is called, you’d get a cheque in the mail, as well; literally, using payment as an incentive to keep drivers traveling at a modest speed.
What cost the speed cameras require isn’t made clear, but there’s fire here to this smoke. Apart from being a cute, rinky-dink social experiment, the initiative boasted real results.
Over a three-day period, almost 25,000 cars passed the speed camera. Before the device was put up, the average speed of passing drivers was 32 km/h, according to TheFunTheory.com. After: 25 km/h, a 22 per cent speed reduction.
So, we ask: where are the holes to this plan? Provided the speed camera would come at a reasonable cost to taxpayers, what should stop this from working?
In Canada, local governments wouldn’t recoup cash gained from paid speeding tickets, but the cost of speed trap-style law enforcement would similarly decrease. And, if you believe cops and lawmakers’ insistence that road safety is of paramount concern, a small ding in speeding ticket revenue should be an easy trade-off if the speed cameras actually work.
What do you think of the Speed Camera Lottery? Good idea, bad idea or somewhere in between?
By Jason Buckland, MSN Money
Posted by: John | Dec 10, 2021 3:24:05 AM
This is an amazing idea and I agree as long as it does not cost too much, I say install them at every major intersection.
Posted by: Anon-e-mouse | Dec 10, 2021 7:39:33 AM
What a great idea!!
No different than the lottery, only a portion of the moneywould be returned to the lucky drivers whose cars are selected so the system is financed solely from a revenue stream that the administrations don't presentlky have. However, after a while, if everyone slows down the revenues (and thus the prizes) are reduced, so the incentive to drive slower is reduced as well.
This is no different than taxing car drivers to subsidise public transit in the hope that it will be too expensive to drive their cars to incentivise them to take the bus; Then, of course there isn't enough ,money flowing in (or capacity) to handle all the riders and fares will go up as they should have in the first place - except that service will already have been degraded.
I suppoise that over time the system would achieve a balance, of sort; Enough people would slow down to generate revenue that satisfies those who don't speed solely for the purpose of winning the grand prize.
Unfortunately it'll never fly - at least not in North America. That's because these cameras are intended as sources of revenue for cash-starved governments unwilling to actually live within their means.
Posted by: Johanne | Dec 10, 2021 1:22:45 PM
The premise is somewhat intriguing. If it slows down drivers and reduces injuries/fatalities, there is merit. But please keep in mind when we had photo radar in Ontario. The drivers knew that the cameras were on overpasses. They would simply slow down when approaching them and then speed up on long stretches of highway.
I remember clearly how I would drive 110Km (Cruise Control) on a 100km hwy. (Yes, I know it's still considered speeding, I suppose). People ahead of me would slow down and then speed up, back and forth where at times I would catch-up to them and have to put on the breaks or even pass them. Next thing you know, they are passing me again. very annoying. In the end, I'm in for reducing excessive speed.
Posted by: Andrew Dickson | Dec 11, 2021 3:43:56 PM
Great idea! However, it'd never be put into motion simply because the powers that be would lose their precious revenue to a lottery given to regular people who obeyed their laws. That couldn't be allowed. Prove me wrong, please lol.
Posted by: Victor Fenech | Dec 11, 2021 6:34:13 PM
Anything the government touches goes haywire and always to benefit the government. If they lie to us during election time, what prevents them to turn the cameras to their benefit as amoney maker. Think about it
Posted by: Richard | Dec 11, 2021 8:00:55 PM
Love the morons who truly believe this is a great idea, an awesome idea, an amazing idea. When the Millions of $$$ in speeding revenue is reduced due to all the law abiding citizens of this country, then the government will raise your taxes to make up the difference. Beware and be very afraid. BIG BROTHER will keep casting his eye upon you in an attempt to turn you into dimwitted, indecisive zombie-like sheeple. Continue to be regulated in everything you do in everyday life... and be prepared to live with the consequences.
Posted by: Dr. Steed | Dec 12, 2021 7:38:09 AM
This has to one of the top dumbest ideas ever. Why should anyone be rewarded for doing what is right, or what they should be doing all along? Come on, get real!