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.
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