Tuesday, August 14, 2012

Lets Revisit the Idea of Speed Cameras Shall We?

Pol here, with an idea that is likely to get me rather lambasted by anyone who reads it. I've been thinking through the idea of traffic and congestion recently and think I may have a rather novel solution to a common problem.

We here at the Wigshop tend to hate red light cameras. They are revenue focused, do not reduce accidents, and represent the privatization of our police system, in short they are bad.

I have wondered though, if there is a way to take that technology and apply it usefully in such a way as to actually improve the quality of life in our city. I have also become rather obsessed with the body count that is our highway signage these days, the death count was at 604 when I checked last.That being said my proposition is as follows:

I suggest that a system of speed cameras set up on all main interstate corridors within Knox county to enforce the speed limit would actually reduce the overall time of commute, free up police resources, and reduce traffic accidents.

Picture with me if you will, a series of cameras, well marked, at equal intervals, and run by the Knoxville Police Dept that enforce the speed limit along 40, 640, 275, 75, and Pellissippi. These cameras would be active from the hours of 7AM through 9AM and again from 4:30PM until 6:30 pm. Signage would clearly mark the bounds in which these cameras operate and lights would signal when they were active. I propose the following guidelines:

  1. Any speed over 5 mph over the speed limit would result in the ticket
  2. The fine would be approximately $10
  3. You could receive a maximum of 1 fine per day
  4. The fine would not be reflected on a motor vehicle report
The entire purpose of this program would be to make traffic flow at a consistent speed which would overall create a much more pleasant and safe driving environment. We have all been passed on the right by some person trying to gain a car length or frustrated by someone going 50 in the left lane, this program would create a mild incentive for everyone to travel at the same rate of speed and if you do exceed the limit the penalty is not onerous.

Optimally this program would be revenue neutral, but even if it does run a deficit the benefits of a better commute cannot be undervalued. Reduced stress, lower impact on cars, less damage to roadways, less need for police to risk life and limb for a ticket, it could be a great way to, on the margins, make Knoxville different from other cities.  And until I get my self driving car I have to deal with other people driving.

So, who knows how to get is started?