Tuesday, March 17, 2015

Speed Governance

Back in 1923 the city of Cincinnati proposed a referendum to put governing devices on motor vehicles to limit their top speed to 25 MPH. It made sense in a way as roadway deaths had escalated from less than 500 a year in 1900 to over 15,000 nationwide in 1923.
But it also made little sense for inter city travel although that could be done at higher speeds & more safely by train. Still, trains didn't get you to Hooterville. Wait - they did...
Anyway, the referendum failed due to intense lobbying by the automobile lobby. Now we have around 35,000 roadway fatalities per year.
But, while it was impractical 92 years ago, with modern technology, would it be practical today?
With wifi & cars being rolling computers, could we have a sort of dynamic broadcast governor today that would change from street to street depending on the speed limit? That could adjust for school hours & road construction zones? That could 'assist' in stopping at stop signs?
It seems feasible. It would cost some money & the automobile lobby would scream bloody murder but it would be much more practical than the draconian "one size fits all" plan suggested in Cincinnati in 1923.

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