Pinal County shelves speed-camera program

Pinal County in Arizona just canceled their traffic camera contract with Redflex, the company behind a great majority of these traffic camera programs, including the one in Denver that I wrote about last week.

Moreover, Babeu said, total motor-vehicle accidents increased by 16 percent in the same time period, and fatal collisions in the Queen Creek area doubled from three to six.

[From Pinal County shelves speed-camera program]

My main issue with traffic cameras is that however small an act it is, you still have a right to be given a ticket by an actual sworn police officer standing in front of you (or as is more likely, to the window at your side).

The most disingenuous argument that cities use to justify their camera enforcement programs is public safety. These cameras are often placed in high accident intersections, which because of a simple statistics argument tend to decrease in accident rates over time, but interestingly enough, there is an increasing body of research that demonstrates that traffic cameras actually increase accident rates.

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Nokia to Launch Traffic Network

I’ll be curious to see how this is implemented. Being able to syndicate the structural traffic network content (e.g. road sensors) to mobile phones makes a lot of sense but the user generated content piece is more suspect. First of all there is the input mechanism given that SMS is illegal while driving (and for good reason, as opposed to handsfree requirements), but more ominously, there is no way in hell they will get a critical mass of individuals to input data about traffic conditions in real time.

Based in part on the results of an earlier experiment, Nokia believes that a community of users with GPS-equipped mobile devices can help reduce traffic and the amount of time spent on the road. Providing real-time information about traffic congestion helps drivers make more informed decisions – such as whether to take alternative routes, public transport or reschedule their journey.

[From Nokia Research Center Puts Mobile Millennium in Gear to Help Reduce Traffic Congestion]

BTW, this is a Java app so the possibility of an Android version is real, however unlikely, but an iPhone version would be a significant effort. This may sound odd to suggest given that Nokia is the sponsor, but for the content network to flourish it would be essential to have a broad array of handset manufacturers involved, and considering that this project is funded in part by a grant from the Department of Transportation, the notion that it would benefit a single vendor, who is a foreign company nonetheless, is odious.

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