Speed Camera Lottery: Hastighetslotteriet


In 2009 Volkswagen in Sweden launched a competition for people to come up with ludic ideas, which they called “fun theory”. The winning suggestions were then filmed and launched on to the internet at. So far, so kawaii, so meme-based viral marketing, so situationist theory appropriated to sell cars.

I was made aware of the speed camera example by my colleague Shale, who came across it on the Coursera gamification course, who thought it was an intersting example of the internet of things and networked sensors. From the video the implication was that in Sweden speed cameras were set up with the fines on speeding drivers paying for prizes awarded to the law-abiding drivers. This sounded like an intriguing application of ANPR, but it has been hard to find further details. I contacted NTF, the Swedish National Society for Road Safety, for further detials, and kindly received a reply from Jan Sandberg, their CEO. His reply describes the project as a collaboration between NTF and Volkswagen, with no fines collected from the speeding drivers and no police involvement. They claim that public response was overwhelmingly positive. In Britian there is strong resistance to speed cameras, with several candidates in England for the newly created roles of Police and Crime Commissioners actively campaigning against them, for example a UKIP candidate recently described them as “cash cows“. If it was legally possible, would introducing a system like Hastighetslotteriet reduce or increase peoples antipathy to speed cameras? On the one hand it would mean the benfits go to the law-abing and not to the state, but the prize awarding would require data to be held on everyone who passes the camera location. I am not sure it could ever work in practice.

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