It usually starts with a call from a resident.
Cars are flying past their home, they say, and the police department is spurred to investigate the situation either by placing an officer on the road or installing a speed radar display.
Closing the loop on this situation is where is gets tricky for police departments around the country. If the department uses a speed display, the resident typically doesn’t have access to the data or the data is difficult to comprehend.
For this reason, traffic reports from All Traffic Solutions are colorful and full of easy to read charts. A speed volume analysis report, for example, simplifies the traffic data into four categories
- Green (no risk) — vehicles driving at or below the speed limit
- Yellow (low risk) — vehicles traveling no more than 10 mph over the speed limit
- Orange (medium risk) — vehicles traveling over the speed limit that would receive a fine
- Red (high risk) — reckless drivers traveling far above the speed limit
The reports are designed so they can be read easily by anyone. They’re a way to say to the resident “Here are the numbers we saw. There is not an issue here or we’re going to take care of it.” Some department have gone further and posted these reports on Facebook for the community to read and digest.
The reports are also ideal for taking to town council meetings to show evidence of a traffic problem and justify a budget increase to solve. Some departments use the reports to justify another part time officer or to buy more signs.
The other issue that surfaces once departments begin to use speed displays in the community is keeping up with the demand. With only one or two signs, officers have a hard time keeping up with the resident complaints that increase when residents see the signs, know the police have them and want one placed near them as well.
The other common appeal to town councils is to approve permanent signs in school zones, parks, near crosswalks or roads coming into town like in Lemont, Pa.
Regardless of the need, evidence is key to making a case for a budget increase and speed displays are an effective way to do that. Have you used traffic data to justify a budget increase? We’d love to hear about your experience!
By Marshall Barto at All Traffic Solutions