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The power of the ‘carrot versus the stick’ – promoting speed compliance over enforcement for increased road safety

At the recent annual JCT Traffic Signals Symposium, that every year brings together traffic signal practitioners and manufacturers alike, Graham Muspratt, our Road Safety & Wireless Detection Systems Group Product Manager, presented a paper entitled ‘A78 Fairlie, an innovative approach to encouraging speed compliance using traffic signals‘.

speed detection sep

If you have ever driven in mainland Europe in countries such as Spain, Portugal or France you will often come across traffic signals like the one pictured here.

These signals react to any driver’s approaching in excess of the speed limit and will change the traffic signals to red to impede the speeding driver’s journey time. This aims to change driver behaviour to encourage speed compliance.

On the 14th February 2013, a Heavy Goods Vehicle crashed into a residential property close to the existing signalised junction on the A78 within the village of Fairlie, North Ayrshire, killing the house inhabitant and causing a large amount of damage and disruption.

The local community were extremely concerned about road safety within the village and campaigned for improvements to be made. Transport Scotland instructed their operating company for the South West Unit, Scotland TranServ to look to make safety improvements.

Our white paper fully details the innovative scheme, a first of its kind in the UK, devised to slow drivers down when driving through the village.

This design, implemented by Clearview Traffic Group, with supply chain partners Imtech Traffic and Infra UK Ltd and Coeval Ltd, incorporated the use of our M100 wireless vehicle detection system to provide accurate detection of vehicle speeds that in turn uses the traffic signals to penalise drivers in excess of the 30mph speed limit by stopping them on purpose at the signalised junction and in turn increasing their journey time.

In addition, vehicle speed activated signs were also installed to warn speeding drivers of both traffic signals ahead and to slow down by way of flashing amber lights and a ‘slow down message’.

speed detection sep3

The scheme is aimed solely at positively influencing driver behaviour and is therefore more of a ‘carrot’ for speed compliance rather than the perhaps more obvious ‘big stick’ approach of the installation of speed enforcement cameras.

So far the scheme has been hailed as a success by a number of parties, including road operators and motoring organisations.

Scotland TranServ said: “We are delighted to be the first in Scotland to introduce these vital road safety measures on the A78 within the south west trunk road network. The safety of motorists and pedestrians is of the upmost priority and Scotland TranServ is pleased to have worked with Clearview Traffic to develop this concept to improve road safety within local communities in which we live, visit and work.”

The Institute of Advanced Motorists commented: “Law abiding drivers have nothing to fear from this system. It also offers the opportunity to penalise speeders quickly and fairly. If nothing is gained by speeding, then that can only help reinforce the safety message.”

This just goes to show that often the carrot is a powerful incentive in road safety initiatives.

To find out more about Clearview Traffic’s road safety, traffic safety and vehicle detection solutions, please get in touch here.

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