University Finds Radar Speed Signs Effective Years Later

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Radar Speed Signs Remain Effective Years after Installation; Binghamton University Finds Signs Effective, Maintenance-Free

Radar speed signs first installed more than four years ago are still operating effectively and maintenance free, according to campus police at Bringhamton University.

In 2005, four radar speed signs were placed on the university campus as part of several measures aimed at ensuring pedestrian safety. University police say the radar speed signs, all manufactured by Information Display Company (IDC), continue to be highly effective at slowing cars at all four locations throughout the heavily trafficked campus.

“We had some initial concern that drivers would eventually become used to the radar speed signs and that the displays would lose their effectiveness over time but that has certainly not been the case,” said Binghamton University Deputy Chief of Police Timothy R. Faughnan according to a May IDC press release.  “Years later, we still see brake light come on as the signs remind drivers to observe their current rate of speed and make adjustments as needed.”

University administrators installed the four displays near campus crosswalks where pedestrian traffic is particularly high and posted speed limits are reduced. The radar SpeedCheck signs have also proven to be durable. According to Faughnan, all four signs have operated maintenance-free since first being installed. “Year after year, we experience a wide spectrum of weather conditions – from 100 plus degrees in the summer to 15 degrees below in the winter – and yet the radar speed signs continue to operate flawlessly,” said Faughnan. “The displays have remained clear and the lights continue to shine brightly.”

According to IDC, studies have found that radar speed signs are one of the most effective and longest lasting traffic calming devices.  In January 2007, for example, over 100 traffic engineers, police officers and safety professionals from around the United States received a survey sponsored by IDC, asking them to rate the effectiveness of various traffic-calming methods. Based upon a response rate of more than 30 percent, the survey found that more than 96.5 percent of respondents strongly agree (66.7%) or agree (30%) that driver feedback signs are effective in reducing traffic speeds on residential streets. Moreover, driver feedback signs were ranked as having the most immediate and long-lasting effect on calming traffic. In addition, IDC points out, driver feedback signs are cost-effective and do not impede emergency vehicles in any way. Rather than raising the ire of the public, they typically garner praise from community members.

According to IDC, radar speed signs work in all kinds of settings, but one size does not fit all. “We worked closely with the university to ensure they had the right traffic calming equipment for the job,” said Gary ODell, IDC, makers of the SpeedCheck display signs. “The four locations chosen for the radar speed signs were next to easily accessible power sources, so they could forego solar power units. We also suggested they use the sign’s maximum speed displays settings to alleviate concern that some drivers might try to purposely achieve high display numbers.”

For the past 15 years, Information Display Company (now owned by Carmanah Technologies) has played a leading role in designing, testing and manufacturing active traffic safety displays for cities across the United States.

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