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South Dakota Department of Transportation
Project Synopsis
SD2001-06


Title: Applications of Automated Speed Enforcement Equipment
Project Researcher: Jon Becker, South Dakota Department of Transportation
Project Manager: Christina Bennett
Research Period: 4/1/2002 - 2/28/2003
Status:
Cost: $3,000.00

Problem Statement:Traffic accidents in construction work zones are a nationally significant problem. In urban areas, heavy traffic volumes and high speeds make construction work extremely hazardous. In rural areas, traffic volumes may be lower, but the problem of high speeds can be even more severe.

One South Dakota study has shown that the presence of the highway patrol can reduce traffic speeds in work zones, but unless officers actually issue citations, the effect of presence alone is temporary. Sufficient numbers of officers are not available for continuous enforcement.

Research project SD97-12 evaluated a manned video/Lidar system to detect speeders with the intention of issuing citations through the mail. The SDDOT attempted to pass legislation allowing the issuance of speeding citations through the mail. However, it did not pass, and the use of video/lidar systems was not allowed in the enforcement of regulatory speed limits in work zones. Legislators were unwilling to support issuing citations based on video or photos taken of a speeding vehicle.

Traditional speed control methods without consequences offer short-term effects, and speeds gradually increase as motorists become accustomed to the devices. The panel feels that by demonstrating that speeding problems exist in certain school zones, and that speed reduction methods such as speed monitoring displays and decoy cars are only temporary solutions, legislators will be more willing to allow the use of automated enforcement technologies.

This research would collect data to determine whether speeding problems exist in school zones, and whether automated speed enforcement devices are capable of deterring speeders in school zones. Automated equipment installed in school zones would collect information about motorists speeding through school zones, giving researchers an idea of how many citations would have been issued if legislation allowed it.



Findings: Previous studies have shown that the presence of the highway patrol can reduce traffic speeds in work zones, but unless officers actually issue citations, the effect of presence alone is temporary. Sufficient numbers of officers are not available for continuous enforcement. The project's technical panel selected Automated Speed Enforcement (ASE) equipment to be used in this study to photograph the rear of vehicles violating the speed limit, resulting in high-resolution photographs revealing the vehicles' license plate number. A vehicle-mounted ASE system was leased from Traffipax, Inc. for one month during the summer of 2002. It was placed in work zone and school zone environments. The objective for this system is to issue a citation to every speeder. In a short time, it becomes an effective deterrent to motorists who repeatedly travel through that work zone without the need for a law enforcement officer to be present. The Traffipax system performed reliably when the batteries were kept charged. It was designed to be operated as a manned system, rather than operated unmonitored for a day at a time as it was envisioned by the panel. The system compared favorably with a Lidar speed measurement unit, and never took a photograph of a vehicle not exceeding the set threshold. Photographs gave clear presentations of the license plates. When configured to take photographs of the rear of the vehicle, identification of the driver is impossible. Recommendations: Seek legislation using model language. Narrow scope to work zones and school zones rather than statewide. Emphasize reliability, accuracy and effectiveness of available equipment and operating ASE programs . Incorporate ASE vehicle into DOTCOP program 5. Establish program to share ASE with local jurisdictions during off-peak times.
Title: Applications of Automated Speed Enforcement Equipment
Project Researcher: Jon Becker, DOT
Project Manager: Christina Bennett
Research Period: 4/1/2002 - 2/28/2003
Status:
Cost: $3,000.00

Problem Statement:Traffic accidents in construction work zones are a nationally significant problem. In urban areas, heavy traffic volumes and high speeds make construction work extremely hazardous. In rural areas, traffic volumes may be lower, but the problem of high speeds can be even more severe.

One South Dakota study has shown that the presence of the highway patrol can reduce traffic speeds in work zones, but unless officers actually issue citations, the effect of presence alone is temporary. Sufficient numbers of officers are not available for continuous enforcement.

Research project SD97-12 evaluated a manned video/Lidar system to detect speeders with the intention of issuing citations through the mail. The SDDOT attempted to pass legislation allowing the issuance of speeding citations through the mail. However, it did not pass, and the use of video/lidar systems was not allowed in the enforcement of regulatory speed limits in work zones. Legislators were unwilling to support issuing citations based on video or photos taken of a speeding vehicle.

Traditional speed control methods without consequences offer short-term effects, and speeds gradually increase as motorists become accustomed to the devices. The panel feels that by demonstrating that speeding problems exist in certain school zones, and that speed reduction methods such as speed monitoring displays and decoy cars are only temporary solutions, legislators will be more willing to allow the use of automated enforcement technologies.

This research would collect data to determine whether speeding problems exist in school zones, and whether automated speed enforcement devices are capable of deterring speeders in school zones. Automated equipment installed in school zones would collect information about motorists speeding through school zones, giving researchers an idea of how many citations would have been issued if legislation allowed it.



Findings: Previous studies have shown that the presence of the highway patrol can reduce traffic speeds in work zones, but unless officers actually issue citations, the effect of presence alone is temporary. Sufficient numbers of officers are not available for continuous enforcement. The project's technical panel selected Automated Speed Enforcement (ASE) equipment to be used in this study to photograph the rear of vehicles violating the speed limit, resulting in high-resolution photographs revealing the vehicles' license plate number. A vehicle-mounted ASE system was leased from Traffipax, Inc. for one month during the summer of 2002. It was placed in work zone and school zone environments. The objective for this system is to issue a citation to every speeder. In a short time, it becomes an effective deterrent to motorists who repeatedly travel through that work zone without the need for a law enforcement officer to be present. The Traffipax system performed reliably when the batteries were kept charged. It was designed to be operated as a manned system, rather than operated unmonitored for a day at a time as it was envisioned by the panel. The system compared favorably with a Lidar speed measurement unit, and never took a photograph of a vehicle not exceeding the set threshold. Photographs gave clear presentations of the license plates. When configured to take photographs of the rear of the vehicle, identification of the driver is impossible. Recommendations: Seek legislation using model language. Narrow scope to work zones and school zones rather than statewide. Emphasize reliability, accuracy and effectiveness of available equipment and operating ASE programs . Incorporate ASE vehicle into DOTCOP program 5. Establish program to share ASE with local jurisdictions during off-peak times.

Research Objectives:
1  To determine to what extent speed enforcement issues exist in select school and work zones.
2  To identify benefits and disadvantages of automated speed enforcement systems in school and work zones.
3  To recommend an automated enforcement system for use in school and work zones

Research Tasks:
1  Perform a literature search that includes speed enforcement initiatives in school and work zones.
2  Propose a work plan including timing and duration of speed measurements, and equipment to be used to verify speed measurements.
3  Meet with the technical panel to review the project scope and work plan.
4  Verify that signing within the school zones selected by the panel is compliant with MUTCD.
5  Collect speed data with the ASE equipment in conjunction with other speed logging equipment as a control.
6  Analyze the performance of ASE equipment including reliability, clarity of images, effective identification of vehicles without being driver-intrusive, recording of speed, date and time, and the number of citations identified.
7  Recommend automated methods to improve long-term compliance with speed limits in school and work zones.
8  Prepare a final report summarizing research methodology, findings, conclusions, and recommendations.
9  Make an executive presentation to the SDDOT's Research Review Board at the conclusion of the project.

Documents Available:
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