James Forsyth

The demise of the speed camera

The demise of the speed camera
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One of the more interesting influences on the Conservatives is behavioural economics. The book ‘Nudge’ informs quite a lot of their thinking and one of its author Richard Thaler is now an official advisor to the party; his co-author is heading up regulatory policy for Obama.

One of the major British evangelists for behavioural economics and its insight is The Spectator’s own Wiki Man, Rory Sutherland. He drew this magazine’s attention to Thaler and Nudge long before people in the Westminster Village had cottoned onto it. I’m told that it was a piece that he wrote on Coffee House which inspired Theresa Villiers to announce the effective end of speed cameras this week; the Tories won’t fund any more fixed speed cameras and councils will have to demonstrate that they are effective in cutting accidents before they are allowed to use them. The Tories are hoping that vehicle activated signs, which tell people what speed they are driving and are more effective at cutting accidents than speed cameras, will become the default on British roads.