The traffic light – which stays red when it detects an approaching vehicle exceeding the speed limit – has been hailed as a success less than a week into a 90-day trial.
A city in Canada has taken a unique approach towards stopping motorists from speeding in school zones by introducing a traffic light which only turns green for cars driving below the speed limit.
Infrastructure publication StreetsBlog reports the traffic light has been installed in a school zone in Brossard – located within the city of Montreal – as a part of a 90-day trial, which targets speeding motorists by forcing them to adhere to the 30km/h posted speed limit.
Produced by Quebec firm Signalisation Kalitec, the ‘educational awareness reward light’ (EARL) – or ‘feu de ralentissement éducatif’ (FRED) in French – is red by default, but turns green when its attached speed camera detects an approaching car travelling at speeds less than the posted limit.
Speeding cars approaching the traffic light lose time by having to stop for the red signal, which only becomes green after the car comes to a complete stop.
Brossard mayor Doreen Assadd told StreetsBlog the average speed of vehicles passing through the school zone has dropped from 40km/h to 29km/h since the traffic light’s introduction last week.
Although the trial is yet to be completed, Mr Assadd believes the traffic light system provides a better deterrent from speeding than automated speed cameras issuing fines.
“Fines might be effective, but it’s effective after-the-fact,” said Mr Assaad to StreetsBlog.
“The beauty of FRED is we reward good behaviour, and it’s immediate. It doesn’t record any private information, it just detects that the vehicle is coming and measures its speed. So it’s a carrot instead of a stick.”
While the traffic light is currently installed on a two-way street in a suburban area and it cannot be used to control traffic flow, the results of the trial could see it used in similar environments in the wider Quebec region.
The Canadian city approach to speeding drivers in school zones is contrasts the ‘world-first’ trial currently being undertaken in Queensland, which has seen speed cameras embedded in school zone signs roll out across the state.
The covert school zone speed camera trial started on 23 January 2023 and is due to run until the end of April 2024 at certain locations in Queensland.
Between 1 January 2018 to 30 April 2022, more than 70,132 speeding infringements were issued to drivers in Queensland who were caught breaking the posted speed limit in school zones.
More than half of those speeding motorists were caught breaking the speed limit by between 13km/h to 20km/h, while almost 40 per cent exceeded the posted limit by less than 13km/h.