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Safe driving skills – trafficcameraweb

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Securing Pedestrian Safety

As the American population continues to grow, cities throughout the U.S. see a population influx in many regions. As more people congregate in urban environments, economic forces in these areas often see a substantial increase in many aspects, and there are many benefits from this ongoing population trend.
As cities grow, so do the benefits that many sectors of a city experience. Everything from entertainment, hospitality, and economic drivers like jobs benefit from larger urban cities.
However, as cities continue to grow and attract more residents, the number of pedestrians hurt or killed in these densely populated areas increases too. As cities continue to grow, the number of people living, working, and spending time in downtown locations increases too.


This makes traffic accidents involving pedestrians one of the leading forms of death in the United States today.Technology: The Problem Or The Solution?
There is no debate whether mobile technology is increasing the rates of accidents involving pedestrians. From playing Candy Crush while walking to browsing through Facebook or even texting, interaction with our smartphones is becoming one of the leading causes of traffic accidents.
As this technology continues to be a driving force for accidents, mobile technology is also becoming integrated into existing traffic equipment to help make city streets safer for pedestrians and drivers alike.
There are plenty of technological advances that you can find in the city streets. Everything from sensors that communicate with each other, to smart traffic lights, and even advanced public transportation is being used to help make public roads safer in urban environments.


Along with making our streets safer for pedestrians and drivers, advanced technology is also making an impact on improving air quality and efficiency for commuters. Let’s take a look at how some cities across the globe are utilizing technology to make their streets safer today!1. New York City
New York City is known for the grid-lock traffic, frequent pedestrian activities, and one of the most popular non-stop entertainment spots in the world. However, as New York and surrounding cities continue to grow, so does the incidents of traffic accidents involving pedestrians.
To help improve the safety of their streets, Manhattan is implementing a million dollar program called Midtown In Motion. This initiative will integrate cameras, field sensors, and FRID readers at intersections to communicate real-time data about a given area to residents and a central command center.
While this initiative is not new, it is part of a growing effort to make Manhattan safer for all visitors. One of the most innovative pieces of Midtown In Motion is that real-time data won’t only be available to traffic engineers, but this data will also be accessible to drivers.
This means that drivers will be able to choose the best routes based on actual street-level data as they navigate NYC.


The New York State Energy Research and Development Authority sponsored KLD associates to come up with software that can be used in the metro area. As their efforts expanded, KLD ended up creating a software system that modifies signal patterns according to the change in traffic volumes, and this improves the traffic flow.
2. Curitiba, Brazil
One of the fastest growing cities in the road sits outside of the United States, but city planners here in the U.S. are taking note of some initiatives being used in Curitiba, Brazil. When it comes to urban planning, there is a widespread belief that any city with over one million residents should consider installing a subway to avoid traffic congestion.
However, as Curitiba hit the million person mark in the 1970’s, they weren’t ready for a subway because of the $300 million price tag that came along with it. As an alternative, Curitiba officials looked to an innovative bus system called the Rapid Bus Transit system to help make a smarter rapid transit system.
Unlike many other bus systems, the Rapid Bus Transit has exclusive traffic lanes throughout the city to help reduce the number of traffic jams caused by bus stops. Along with improved traffic lanes, the Rapid Bus Transit also communicates with smart traffic lights to help the buses easily transport more people with less delay throughout the day.
Today, the Rapid Bus Transit systems services over 2 million people each year, and due to the success of the system city officials are looking to overhaul the aging fleet with over 500 new 92-foot buses to run biofuels. Brazilian officials are excited for the economic and environmental improvements that these buses will bring, as fewer people will be driving3. Sydney, Australia
The geography of Australia is unique, as it has to push large pockets of residents together to build large cities in specific areas of Australia. As more people have congregated in these cities, Australia has taken innovative efforts to improve pedestrian safety throughout the urban environments.
One of these initiatives is the Sydney Coordinated Adaptive Traffic System (SCATS) and was first produced by computer engineers in the 1970’s. This innovative approach to traffic safety uses sensors and cameras on sidewalks to monitor traffic volume in a specific location at specific times.
As these systems collect information about intersections throughout the city, a comprehensive real-time map of city traffic is created. This allows a central control system to find the right timing of lights to help coordinate pedestrian and vehicle traffic.
SCATS has been improved to integrate other advanced technologies, but the system itself has proven itself as a useful tool to prevent pedestrian deaths. This method is being used around the world in large cities, including Shanghai, Hong Kong, Sydney, Mexico, Kuala Lumpur, Tehran, and Dublin.
The most recent news about this is that PTIPS, a new SCATS feature, is being used in Sydney as a way to prioritize the late buses and make sure that everything is flowing smoothly.
Based on the reports gathered, the use of SCATS has some benefits, and some of which are listed below:
    The total stops decreased by 21%    The travel time reduced by 37%    There has been a 6% decrease in total carbon dioxide emissions    There has been a 5% decrease in total nitric oxide emissions    There has been a 10% drop-off in PM10 emissions
That’s not all, SCATS continue to evolve, and the experts behind this system are looking for ways on how it would be able to meet the growing need in traffic administration while being able to benefit from the recent advancements in traffic technology to enjoy maximum efficiency.There are plenty of notable developments include the following:
    Windows supported- Integration to in-car GPS that allows vehicles to be dispatched around accidents or traffic    Better traffic control algorithms that promote overall efficiency and reduces delays    Integrated functionality made for highway on-ramps to guide traffic even on the highway.
4. Farmington Hills, Michigan
Michigan is one of the leading states implementing advanced technology to improve traffic safety throughout cities. One city, in particular, Farmington Hills, stands out as the leader in the advancement of pedestrian and traffic safety systems.
Utilizing a network of modifiable and “smart” LED lights, city planners are making a connected system that talks to each other and optimize traffic flow. This interface is known as Intellistreets and continues to prove that improved traffic flow can drive economic factors of a city while also increasing safety and efficiencies across the city.

The street lighting operates in a coordinated effect where each pole comes with its very own microprocessor that could work on its own, but could also line around a non-functioning unit. This system of smart LED lights allows authorities to project any message to help guide first responders and keep crowds safe around disaster areas.
These poles also contain sensors and cameras capable of monitoring traffic flow that could tell which lights should brighten or dim down.The street names are visible in LED lights, as well as banners that could be modified to preview anything– this could range from traffic warnings, Amber Alert, directions, or even advertisements. Best of all, you can configure this in real time, and have it ready right away, making it ideal for events.
Despite that the Intellistreets work well with traffic, its primary purpose is energy saving. It was created with pulse width transmission to ensure its energy efficiency when being used. For instance, dimming the lights of the Intellistreets would allow you to save 25% of energy and 25% less heat. Although you wouldn’t experience its benefits right away, after a time, it’s a wonderful investment as compared to a typical traffic light.Using Technology For A Safer Tomorrow
As cities continue to grow, city planners must think of new and innovative ways to improve the safety and efficiency of commuting for pedestrians and drivers. Leveraging emerging technology and integrating these technologies into existing traffic equipment can keep drivers and pedestrians safe. The future of city living and commuting looks bright as authorities continue to implement advanced technology on our city streets!

The tech is already available on a few models in foreign markets.

The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration takes a step into the motoring future by announcing a test of how side-mounted cameras could replace conventional mirrors. The agency specifically wants to know how the tech affects driving behavior and lane changes, according to Reuters.
Sideview camera systems are already available on a few models in Europe in Japan, but regulations currently keep the tech off of American roads. NHTSA doesn’t yet offer a time frame for when the agency could modify the rules to allow them in the U.S.

The Lexus ES is among the models available with side-view cameras outside of the U.S. The company’s solution puts five-inch screens for displaying the outward view on each side of the cabin. The cameras’ view adapts to the driver, including zooming out during lane changes. The system also brightens the exterior image during night driving for better visibility.

How do speedtraps work and how is the violation proceed?

Speedcameras in Finland. Source: helsinkitimes.fi  
There are a total of some 955 speedtrap boxes on the roads and highways of Finland, but only 120 of them are equipped with cameras at time, according to Trafi, the Finnish Transport Safety Agency. Speed cameras are useful tools to catch the drivers speeding automatically 24 hours a day, 7 days a week. The greatest benefit is that no policeman needs to stand by the road to detect speeding.
How do speedtrap work?


Speedtrap fixes the speed of all passing vehicles. If the driver exceeds the posted speed limit a digital picture of the vehicle and the driver is taken. The camera can take photos also in the night time. To prevent the flash dazzling the driver a flash with a red filter is use. The red flash is visible to the driver and and also signals that the speeding is fixed.
Although each flash doesn’t automatically mean speeding. To put it differently if you drive within the permitted speed range and you see a flash from the speed camera it may also mean that the camera is turning on and off. This is done three times a day.What are the speed limits when a violation is proceed?
To point out, in Finland speeding fines are linked to income, with penalties calculated on daily earnings. This means that high earners get hit with bigger penalties for breaking the law.


2 interesting facts: 1) Reima Kuisla, a Finnish businessman, was caught doing 103km/h in an area where the speed limit is 80km/h, authorities turned to his 2013 tax return, the Iltalehti newspaper reports. He earned 6.5m euros that year, so was told to hand over 54,000 euros(!!!)
2) In 2002, an executive at Nokia was slapped with a 116,000-euro fine (!!!) for speeding on his Harley Davidson motorbike. His penalty was based on a salary of 14m euros.1
So spending can be a costly business for wealthy Finns…
In fact, the speed limits in Finland are higher than in Sweden and Norway and motor roads have a max speed of 120 km/h. In general the common speed limits outside urban areas are 100 km/h. Speeds are often reduced during winter (october-april). 2
Source: https://www.speedingeurope.com/finland/What happens after the speed camera has captured you speeding?
As a matter of fact, an automated speed camera in comparison to speed measurements by a police patrol include efficiency. Indeed thanks to the camera, there is no need for a police officer to stop the car after speeding was detected.


When incident of speeding was recorded by an automated speed camera a fine notice is generally signed in a digital format.
The fine must be paid or disputed within 30 days.What if I get a traffic fine in a rental car?
First of all, it is important to notice the car owner or the company you rented the car from what has happened.  In case you do get a ticket on your hire car, it’s worth paying it swiftly, because you’re likely to pay extra fees if the authorities contact the car hire company about an unpaid ticket. 4
To dispute a fine, contact the traffic authority that issued it. You should find the contact details on the fine notification. 

Frown, You’re on Red-Light Camera!

RED-LIGHT cameras have your number.
If you drive through a monitored traffic signal that is red before you enter the intersection, a camera is triggered, your license plate is read by an evaluator at a computer, and if you are not in a funeral procession or driving an ambulance, you may get a color photograph of your car breaking the law. And a hefty fine.


Around the country, several hundred such robot cameras have been installed, with more on the way. In New York City, there are 30, generating 200,000 tickets a year.
Law enforcement officials say that the cameras have reduced accidents and the time police officers spend chasing reckless drivers and doing paperwork.
”Red-light-running accidents are the worst,” said Lieut. Glenn A. Hansen, the commander of the automated enforcement division in Howard County, Md. ”They happen at high speed and are often of the T-bone type” — when the front of someone’s car hits another car’s middle — ”the most dangerous. We have had a 47 percent decrease in accidents” at intersections with red lights.

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Drivers are usually contrite when they see the evidence. ”Yes, that was clearly me. This is fair. I deserved this one,” — which is how Kay MacIntosh, a Baltimore magazine editor, recalled her reaction when she received a ticket for driving through an intersection in Brooklandville, Md., last June.
At the same time, the cameras have been criticized by civil-rights groups who are concerned that the photographs could be used to track people’s movements. Others are concerned about conflicts of interest regarding the operation and enforcement of the systems.


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The pole-mounted, breadbox-size cameras installed by Electronic Data Systems and Lockheed Martin Corporation are activated only when a traffic light turns red. The camera then takes a photograph showing the car approaching the intersection before the white ”stop bar” and the red light overhead, and another showing the car in the middle of the intersection, the red light still visible. The pictures, along with a high-magnification shot of the license plate, are sent to the car’s registered owner as a ”photo ticket.” The owner is liable, even if he or she was not driving. Most states do not assess points for these violations.
The costs for installing and maintaining the cameras can be considerable: one contractor estimated that it can total $80,000 an intersection, including the camera, which can cost about $50,000. Wires must be placed in the pavement to sense cars approaching the stop bars; cameras need to be mounted on poles; and the film must be reloaded manually daily. (Digital camera images do not offer enough resolution.)
But the costs are more than covered by the fines that are collected — $75 a ticket in most states, more than $200 in California. In some instances, contractors pay for not only the installation and maintenance but also for interpreting the images and collecting the money (the percentage they keep differs with each contract) — services that stir criticism.Editors’ PicksThe 10 Most Influential Films of the Decade (and 20 Other Favorites)Real Estate Thought It Was Invincible in New York. It Wasn’t.Here’s What’s Happening in the American Teenage BedroomContinue reading the main story

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”It’s a conflict of interest to have companies that profit being the enforcers and in a position to say who has to pay a ticket,” said Lon Anderson, a spokesman for AAA Mid-Atlantic.
A system operated by Lockheed Martin for the government of Washington D.C. mailed 20,000 tickets to drivers who were caught in a trap in which a midblock blinking yellow signal occasionally turned red to let cars out of a parking garage.
”This camera actually caused several accidents a day as people slammed on their brakes when the flash went off,” Mr. Anderson said, because people driving down the road suddenly saw the camera’s flash go off at the blinking yellow light, braked and were then hit from behind.
”After we complained and there was media coverage, they took the camera down and said the last 3,000 people didn’t have to pay,” Mr. Anderson said. ”They haven’t refunded the other fines, though. In Maryland, the contractors work for the police, and that’s better.”
Lockheed Martin deferred questions regarding the incident to the Washington police, who defended their actions. ”Red-light running was down 62 percent at that signal in the months the camera was in operation,” said Kevin Morison, a spokesman for the police department. ”The theory was to reduce red-light running at that signal and the major intersection beyond it at the same time. In hindsight, though, maybe that wasn’t the best theory.”
Administrators of the camera systems say that public perception and trust are crucial in changing driver behavior, and that officials work hard to make the systems accountable. ”We go the extra mile to weed out gray-area tickets,” Lieutenant Hanson said. ”The front wheel must be before the stop bar, the car must be traveling at a certain speed, and we do not allow short yellow signals.” Federal regulations call for a three-second to six-second yellow duration at normal city speeds, and longer for high-speed roads.
THE red and yellow intervals and the car’s speed are printed at the top of the pictures.
Despite the advantages, the issues of privacy continue to be raised. ”While we are firmly in favor of reducing accidents, we are concerned about ‘mission creep’ ” — when information is collected for one purpose and then used for another — ”with the information gathered,” said Emily Whitfield, a spokeswoman for the American Civil Liberties Union. ”We find it troubling that they are capturing more than the vehicle, like direction and time. The movements of innocent people can be tracked.”

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Ms. Whitfield pointed out that last year, it was reported in The Washington Post that the United States Secret Service helped a New Hampshire company with financial assistance and advice in its efforts to buy driver-license data from some motor-vehicle bureaus.
In California, legislators decreed that cars be photographed from the front, showing the faces of people in the front seat, ostensibly to ensure that the wrong person not be fined. But some people might not wish to be documented this way.
In Maryland and elsewhere, the law prohibits a contractor or an insurance company from using data that can be collected from the cameras. Police use is not ruled out.
Both E.D.S. and Lockheed are defense contractors, with long ties to the intelligence community. But representatives for both companies said that invasion of privacy concerns were unfounded. ”Lockheed Martin has the most secure systems in the world,” said Kathleen Dezio, a company spokeswoman. ”It can only be accessed by the local governments.”
Bill Ritz, an E.D.S. marketing manager, said: ”E.D.S. has been handling sensitive public information for decades, like health insurance, credit cards, banking, driver records and tax programs. There hasn’t been a problem that I’m aware of in maintaining privacy. We take that responsibility very seriously.”
Some drivers try to put tinted plastic covers on their license plates. Web operations like Radarbusters.com sell filters that interfere with the viewing of license plates from side or overhead angles.
Online discussion groups offer information on red-light cameras, some useful, some not. A common excuse involves telling a judge that an ambulance was chasing you into an intersection (not practical; the judge can clearly see if that is the case). Questions pop up, like whether obstructing the view of a license plate is illegal (yes), or whether throwing mud on a plate is an innocuous dodge (maybe, but it can still get you stopped by police). Another choice, of course, is to obey the law.