Speed cameras have long been criticised as being little more than a way for regional police forces to raise revenue, while doing little to improve road safety. Volkswagen, however, has hit upon an idea to fix this.

Suggested by Kevin Richardson in the USA as part of Volkswagen’s ‘fun theory’ initiative, the idea is use speed cameras as a kind of driver lottery, where the penalty paid by speeding drivers is placed into a pot.

Drivers who obey the speed limit are then entered into a lottery to win part of this pot as a prize, which gives an incentive for sticking under the speed limit — at least when driving past the camera.

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When tested in Stockholm on a trench of road with a 30km/h limit over the course of three days, the average speed was reduced from 32km/h to 25km/h, though Volkswagen neglects to mention if there was any financial incentive attached to this. Still, it’s a sound idea, albeit one that falls apart once everybody is obeying the speed limit…

The speed camera lottery was suggested as part of Volkswagen’s ‘fun theory’ competition, which called for ideas for ways in which human behaviour can be modified in fun ways. The competition has now closed and you can see the eight finalists, along with the other entries, at www.thefuntheory.com.