Last modified on Fri 25 May 2018
The city of Helmond is trialling a speed sensor with a difference – motorists who observe the speed limit earn cash for local projects
A Dutch city is hoping to target speeding motorists by rewarding those who keep to the limit with cash for their community – car by car, and cent by cent.
A “speed-meter money box” was installed earlier this month on a stretch of road notorious for speeding in Helmond, a city in North Brabant province in the Netherlands. Each vehicle that was observing Dijksestraat’s 30km/h (19mph) speed limit as it passed added €0.10 (£0.09) to the monetary figure displayed, to a maximum of half a euro per vehicle each day.
Catelijne Thomassen, spokeswoman for North Brabant province, said the speedometer achieved its set fundraising target of €500 to upgrade a local playing field well before the end of its three-week trial.
The speedometer is entirely mobile and the speed limit, amount collected per vehicle, and savings goal can be customised.
It will be displayed throughout North Brabant throughout 2018 and 2019, with individual cities left to decide the fundraising target and the community project to benefit from it.
Thomassen said the speedometer – which was devised and owned by the province’s traffic safety team – aimed to remind motorists to watch their speed and, in doing so, benefit their community.
“The strength of the mobile version is that it’s only there for a few weeks, so people don’t get used to it. Every time they pass by, we hope that they are aware of the risk they take by speeding.
“Most of these people are local drivers, they know they are contributing to the district, in this case the playing field. It feels really local.”
Sander Hermsen, a researcher of behaviour change and design at the Utrecht University of Applied Sciences, told Guardian Cities that the idea had potential to snap drivers out of bad habits.
“Most people don’t consciously speed, they don’t want to endanger other people – it’s just the road sort of invites you to go fast. Others do it too, so you go with the flow and before you know it you’re going 45km/h.
“What you need is some kind of trigger that breaks you out of your routine.”