Traffic Camera = Doh!

I got this off of Apparently, there is a citation-issuing speed camera in Wales that has been causing serious traffic congestion due to drivers slamming on their brakes to avoid being over 50 MPH (says the article).

First question: 50 MPH? Not 80 KPH?

Second question: (more of a comment really) “heh heh heh HAHAHAHAHAHA!”

As a traffic engineer, I’m heartily amused by this situation. Oh, in hindsight this makes perfect sense. And (also in hindsight) they should never have placed a speed camera where they did. However, the article goes on to mention that:

“Being so close to a junction it causes a lot of congestion where there is not a history of accidents,” Assembly Member Alun Cairns told the BBC. “Westbound congestion of a Friday evening regularly tails back in excess of five miles because people brake through instinct on observing the camera even when they are traveling within the speed limit.”

The Welsh Assembly Government will not consider raising the speed limit or removing nearby speed cameras.

It seems that the congestion is relegated almost entirely to the area of this interchange. I would think that there would be some congestion at every single one of the mentioned cameras, not just the one at the interchange. Given that many studies have shown that drivers will not respect a speed limit they regard as too low, I would expect to see a series of pulse-congestion as the free-flowing vehicles hit each of the well-known speed camera locations.

I’ll have to look into this and see how well it’s operating. Mainland Europe treats their speed controls much more sanely. They raise and lower the speeds dynamically to ensure maximum efficiency of travel, not to enforce some arbitrary speed limit.

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