Global Positioning System (GPS) data can be used to spot speeding trends and could help respond to areas of concern before an accident happens, Staffordshire’s Police, Fire and Crime Commissioner Ben Adams told Stafford residents.
Mr Adams and his deputy, Helen Fisher, were guest speakers at the Baswich Neighbourhood Watch group meeting on Monday. It was the first physical meeting of the group to be held in more than two years and road and pedestrian safety were areas of concern raised by a number of residents.
Mr Adams and Mrs Fisher gave details of the work of Staffordshire Safer Roads Partnership.
Residents were told that there were now 71 Community Speedwatch groups across the Staffordshire Police area, which involve volunteers monitoring vehicle speeds along areas of concern in their neighbourhoods.
Mr Adams said: “The partnership is looking at a new app that uses GPS and can see trends in speeding vehicles. Hopefully in a few months we will be able to map areas of speed.
“A lot of investments are around areas where there are accidents and I think why are we waiting for accidents? I think we need to get past that – people living there will tell us there is an accident waiting to happen.
“At the moment police request highways engineers come out and they measure an area for two weeks. It is an expensive process and they can only do a few each year.
“Councillors will be able to say ‘this is my hotspot’ if they hear about an area over and over again. We can’t wait for accidents to happen.”
The double roundabout at Stafford’s Radford Bank was highlighted as a local issue, as was the A34 Cannock Road where the 30mph speed limit increases to 40mph before drivers leave the town boundary.
County and borough councillor Ann Edgeller, who chaired the meeting, said: “There are plans afoot on Cannock Road.
“Hopefully we will get a 30mph speed limit all along that stretch but it doesn’t happen overnight. Please be assured it is being looked at but I don’t know when it will happen.”
Baswich Community Group has backed a campaign for more 20mph speed limits to be introduced in Staffordshire, the meeting was also told. The 20’s Plenty for Staffordshire group has urged Staffordshire County Council to scrutinise its current policy on 20mph speed limits, as well as considering future plans, potential funding sources and budgets to roll out more schemes in the area.
The campaign has received support across the county, including in Leek where thousands of residents signed a petition for a 20mph limit to be introduced in the town centre.
But Stafford Borough and county councillor Jonathan Price, who attended Monday’s meeting in Baswich, said: “It has been proven if you go to 20mph it makes no difference. It is a pointless exercise.”