TRAFFIC-CALMING TRENDS: Why Municipalities & Police Departments Are Using Radar Speed Signs
Cultivating safe communities is a primary goal for both municipalities and police departments across the nation and around the world. Traffic safety—especially speed enforcement, traffic calming and driver, pedestrian and cyclist safety—is a major concern for national, state and local DOT, law enforcement jurisdictions and court systems.
Traffic-safety initiatives do more than just protect the lives of residents, they impact city rankings for safety (measured by Forbes in fatal crashes)—and livability (measured by lifestyle options). These rankings come with predictable economic impact: communities rated as “safe” and “livable” are viewed as highly desirable places to live, work and play. Further, the rankings may help:
- Attract a talented pool of employees and new businesses
- Offer a more stable real estate environment
- Sustain a stronger tax base, an increasingly important issue as municipalities face budget shortfalls
According to municipalities and law enforcement agencies that utilize driver speed signs as part of their comprehensive traffic safety program, the signs are:
- “We used it without display and recorded an average speed of 50 MPH. After turning on the driver feedback display, speeds averaged 35 MPH. That’s a pretty significant drop.” —Sherriff/Traffic Manager, Arizona
- “There is a school zone as you drive into Vidalia. As cars come in, drivers see the radar sign and they slow down. And, because we don’t have to keep an officer posted there all the time now, the signs solve a manpower issue, which also helps with budgeting—an important factor in this economy.” —Capt. Randy Clark, Vidalia Police Department, Vidalia Georgia
- “Not only are our signs silent and attractive, they are also very affordable and the solar power option makes them a ‘green’ solution.” —Libbie Jae, Community Activist, Carrollwood Community, Hillsborough County, Florida
- “The radar signs provide all the features we need and they were the most cost-effective.” —Lionel Feemster, Public Safety Administrator, Clay Alabama
- “Because these were arterial roads we could not use any construction-based traffic-calming solution, like humps or bumps. And the city did not care to manage the maintenance of the bumps or humps…it is too expensive.” — Lionel Feemster, Public Safety Administrator, Clay Alabama
- Welcomed by residents and law enforcement officials, alike
- “The signs work really well for us and everyone in the village loves them.” —Police officer, Wisconsin
- “There is a cost savings because we get fewer calls from areas where signs are installed. And, our citizens feel well served.” —Traffic Manager, Metro Atlanta
- “We forward the data to traffic officers so they can monitor areas where we have documented speeding problems.” —Traffic Engineer, Liberty Township
- Provide flexible traffic-calming solutions
- “Our driver feedback signs are used primarily in school zones, as permanent mount signs. But the design of ours is flexible enough to allow us to rotate the signs to other locations throughout the summer months, when the schools are closed. That’s an added benefit of these signs.”
- “We rotate our signs. We put the signs out and then when we move them, people want them to come back.” —Traffic Engineer, Oregon
Further, driver feedback signs:
- May change driver behavior, an important aspect of improving highway safety, as identified by the IIHS (The Insurance Institute for Highway Safety)
- Have been endorsed by:
- The AFSCME (American Federation of State, County and Municipal Employees) as a method of creating safe work zones
- PEDS, a non-profit advocacy group working to make metro-Atlanta accessible for all pedestrians
- Officer.com, an Internet portal serving the law enforcement and private security communities—“In a national survey of police officers, traffic engineers and corporate safety officials, the [radar speed sign] displays were identified as the single most effective traffic calming solution…”
For twenty years, Clay, Alabama has kept track of a sobering tragic traffic pattern on Old Springville Road—a stagecoach route-turned arterial street. This long, narrow and winding road is the county’s only East-West thoroughfare and is heavily traveled. Today, the road that was originally created for horse-and-buggy traffic carries 10x the number of cars at higher speeds than was ever intended.
The result: over a 20-year-period, the stretch of road claimed 18 lives, the result, primarily, of speeding.
As an arterial road, construction-based options could not be utilized and vertical solutions were not an option due to expensive maintenance costs.
Radarsign Driver Speed Signs Provide the Solution:
In an effort led by Lionel Feemster, City Councilman appointed to head the city’s public safety efforts, Clay adopted and executed a comprehensive traffic-calming program that includes, as a foundational element, four driver feedback signs from Radarsign.
“We chose Radarsign because the signs are vandal resistant,” said Feemster. “They provide all the features we need and they were the most cost-effective.”
But most importantly, he said, “After installing the driver feedback sign from Radarsign we’ve seen a tremendous difference in traffic speeds and, most importantly, in lives saved. There have been no fatalities in two years.”