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L.A. Gets Speed-Detecting Traffic Signals

LADOT is installing speed feedback signage. Image via Fortel Traffic, Inc. website

A big part of the L.A. City Department of Transportation's Vision Zero effort is to rein in speeding. Speeding is among the primary causes of traffic deaths and fatalities. Speeding makes other problems worse.

LADOT and LAPD are clear on the diagnosis: speeding kills Angelenos. Their prescription is less clear. Chart via LADOT Vision Zero safety study
Speeding kills Angelenos. Chart via LADOT Vision Zero safety study
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In addition to in-roadway interventions including painted curb extensions, LADOT is installing 150 speed feedback signs on Vision Zero High Injury Network's 40 priority corridors. According to to LADOT engineer Tim Fremaux "about two dozen of these are installed and operational so far, in addition to the 175 or so we have around the city from previous installations."

A few of these signs come with a new wrinkle. Last week, LADOT General Manager Seleta Reynolds tweeted about a "new signal trick" in the city's arsenal against dangerous speeding.

https://twitter.com/seletajewel/status/859918418652217344

In selected locations, speed feedback signs are now linked to downstream traffic signals. When a driver breaks the law going more than five mph over the speed limit, the sign triggers the upcoming signal to turn yellow, then red. LADOT's Fremaux states that this feature is more effective when the specific locations are not made public, so Streetsblog L.A. is not revealing the location of the one that this writer visited last week.

The smart feedback sign product is called VCalm®VMS-SP, and is manufactured by Fortel Traffic Inc. The high tech speed signs are full of great data collection features (see video at Fortel website.) They inform DOTs when speeding is happening, what effects the sign is having, and can generate data for state-mandated 85th-percentile speed surveys. As far as LADOT and Fortel report, the city of L.A. is the first municipality to implement this new feature to trigger signal timing changes to curb speeding.

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