Research Rest-Stop │ The Speed Camera Lottery

Every Wednesday, the Mayor’s Office of Transportation and Utilities (MOTU) highlights some interesting research related to or innovations in transportation, sustainability, or energy.

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In 2010, Kevin Richardson of San Francisco participated in a contest run by a Swedish advertising firm for Volkswagen Sweden. The contest, called the Fun Theory, asked participants to develop concepts that addressed social challenges like speed-limit adherence in clever and innovative ways.

Mr. Richardson’s winning entry was the Speed Camera Lottery. Implemented as a demo in Stockholm, Sweden, the project used traffic-camera and speed-capture technologies to photograph all drivers on a local road. Drivers whose speeds went over the speed limit would receive fines. Drivers who followed the speed limit would be entered into a lottery funded by the fines paid by speeding drivers.

The results of the demo were remarkable. Before the demo, the average speed on the local street was 32 kilometers (roughly 20 miles) per hour. With the demo, the average speed dropped to 25 kilometers (about 15.5 miles) per hour. The demo shows how inserting fun into a situation can help to change human behavior and ultimately work to promote safer streets.

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