Radar units and the 85% rule
Appearances can be deceiving. That is why when it comes to collaring lead-footed drivers, cold numbers are always the best gauge.
“Too many times we have received a speeding complaint and found there to be no speeding problem,” relates Ryan Morton, North Glengarry’s Director of Public Works. “While standing at the side of the road, a car doing 40 kilometres per hour in town seems very fast when it goes by you, but in fact it’s doing 10 kilometres per hour less than the speed limit.”
Numbers recorded by radar units help authoriities determine location of the real trouble spots.
Digital speed indicator that have been posted on North Glengarry streets and roads are part of a greater traffic management plan.
“Council and staff have heard from the public about speeding and traffic concerns on Highway 34 and other areas within the township,” recalls Mr. Morton.
Municipalities and the united counties of Stormont-Dundas- Glengarry have jointly purchased the units, at “very competitive” prices. North Glengarry acquired four units for about $12,000.
“We have two units that are solar powered that are intended to remain in place for longer periods of time. We have an additional two units which we intend to move about the Township. Understandably we know that they are popular and people want to see them in various places,” says Mr. Morton.
A fifth device bought by the counties will be dedicated to county routes.
“These units are part of a greater strategy to investigate, identify and address speeding concerns
“Too many times we have received a speeding complaint and found there to be no problem.”
within the township,” continues Mr. Morton.
Once a complaint about speeding is received, officials discreetly monitor the road with a radar data logging machine. “Vehicles will not notice this device and it gives us two weeks’ worth of vehicle activity for the road in question,” explains Mr. Morton.
“We use the 85% rule. If 85% of the vehicles are doing the speed limit or under, we do not consider it a speeding problem. (We cannot expect 100% compliance obviously.) If less than 85% of the vehicles are doing the speed limit or under, we consider it a speeding problem. The device allows us to sort out the data, find out when the speeding is occurring, how often and the best time for enforcement.”
This practice enables the municipality to provide the Ontario Provincial Police with hard data to execute targeted enforcement on a specific road during a specific time for best results. “We cannot expect the OPP to sit at a location all day long, so this is a huge benefit and tool for them,” observes Mr. Morton, noting the data is provided to the police and the complainant.
Based on the results, the OPP will initiate targeted enforcement first.
If the targeted enforcement is successful and no further complaints received, the issue is closed. If there are further complaints, the situation is reassessed through more monitoring.
“If confirmed, we move on to installing the visual radar units as seen throughout the township for a period of time.”
If the problem persists, the municipality will look at “speed limit reductions, engineering related traffic calming measures or other solutions that may be available.”
Mr. Morton says: “The whole point to this strategy is to have data to back up our decision-making. We do not want to be making rash or ad-hoc decisions based on the ‘appearance of speeding.’ We want to make sure we reduce a speed limit on a roadway because it was required and we tried everything else first. Otherwise, we’d have reduced speed limits all over the township with no validation behind those decisions.”
CHECK YOUR SPEED: Digital read-outs have arrived in area communities to remind drivers to check their speeds. Radar units, such as this one in Greenfield, have been installed throughout Stormont-Dundas-Glengarry.