Wednesday, December 08, 2010

Incentives Matter: The Speed Camera Lottery

From Wired: "As well as ticketing you when you run through a speed-radar too fast, the “Speed Camera Lottery” in Sweden also notices you when you come in at or under the speed-limit. It then automatically enters you in a lottery. And here’s the really smart part: the prizes come from the fines paid by speeders."

Average speed before the experiment: 32 km/hour

Average speed after the experiment: 25 km/hour

Watch video above for the full story.


At 12/08/2010 8:57 AM, Blogger T.S. Eliot said...

What a great idea--that's fantastic.

At 12/08/2010 9:29 AM, Blogger Michael Hoff said...

Just what we need here in Pittsburgh: an incentive to drive slow. Right now, people just do it gratis.

At 12/08/2010 9:59 AM, Blogger geoih said...

Yes, a wondeful idea, all premised on the idea that somehow the speed limit arbotrarily set by the state is the "correct" limit (whatever that means).

Funny how those limits always seem to end in a zero or five, and that it's the same limit no matter what the size of the vehicle, or the weather conditions.

It's the speed limit as set by the state. Follow it, or we'll kill you.

At 12/08/2010 10:26 AM, Blogger Grouchy Chris said...

25 km per hour? Why are they trying to promote congestion on this street?

At 12/08/2010 11:44 AM, Blogger juandos said...

I'm totally with geoih on this one...

At 12/08/2010 1:17 PM, Blogger nates said...

As far as I know most studies show that a difference in speed among vehicles is a major cause of accidents. So something like a speed limit that everyone aggregates around is a perfectly reasonable idea.

Assuming private individuals owned most roads, how would you suggest they reduce accidents? Speed limits and cameras are the cheapest means I can think of. I'm not sure a market produced outcome would be exceptionally different. Perhaps slightly more reasonable in ticket prices, and safer in road design, but the fundamental pieces would largely remain.

At 12/08/2010 4:17 PM, Blogger AlexanderS said...

There's so much wrong with this, I don't even know where to begin...

1. 3 days of data. The effect could simply be a day of the week effect.

2. How many people knew about the experiment and the lottery? 3 days seems like an awfully short period to raise awareness.

3. 32 to 25 kmph? What's the maximum speed there? Looks like a 50 road...

4. Lowering speed is not an end, it's simply a means to lower the number of (fatal) accidents. Did this experiment decrease the number of accidents?

At 12/08/2010 4:32 PM, Blogger Ron H. said...

"4. Lowering speed is not an end, it's simply a means to lower the number of (fatal) accidents. Did this experiment decrease the number of accidents?"

Actually, I believe the number of accidents increased dramatically as people looked away from the road to read the sign explaining the experiment and lottery. In fact, drivers slowing to read the sign might also explain the reduced average speed. In any case, many commuters taking this route to work found their commute took considerably longer, as they waited for wreckage to be cleared.

At 12/09/2010 2:00 PM, Blogger nightlysok said...

If speeding killed, the countryside would be littered with dead jet pilots.

The lottery gig here is just a way to make you feel good about having a third party (aka gov entity) step in and tax you and take your money for doing no harm.

I question the motives behind the installation of these speed (and stop light) cameras, and the assumption they slow people down without causing other harmful side affects.

So why the emphasis on speeding here? Because it's easy, that's why. You put a Trooper or camera out there with a radar gun. Aim and shoot. There you go, a record of how fast a car was traveling. There is no evidence there that the driver was driving dangerously. No evidence that the driver was failing to yield the right-of-way. No evidence that the driver was following too close. No evidence that the driver was making dangerous lane changes and cutting drivers off. The only evidence you have is that the driver was exceeding some arbitrary speed limit set by government. That's an easy case to prove in court .. much more easy than proving failure to yield the right-of-way or changing lanes without using a turn signal. Want to prevent harm; then why let people drive at all at a speed that would harm?

The issue here is money.

Look — love the cops; really do. That guy writing me a speeding ticket would stand between me and a bullet if need be. But when he’s sitting there writing me a ticket for speeding he’s a tax collector, not a law enforcement officer...Same for a camera which are nothing but tax collectors.

The National Motor Vehicle Crash Causation Survey that was released in 2008 by the U.S. Department of Transportation. That study reported that speeding accounted for only 5% of "pre-crash events." There's another study from the Virginia Department of Motor Vehicles stating that speeding caused only 2.9% of Virginia crashes in 2007.

We are so preoccupied with preventing harm in America we strangle freedom and don't even hold those accountable after the harm is done.

At 12/11/2010 1:08 PM, Blogger sethstorm said...

Just kill the camera. It's only revenue enhancement, not actual enforcement.


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