Headlines @ U.Va.
STUDY PROVES CAMERAS AT LIGHTS EFFECTIVE, SORT OF
When you speed through a red light, do you pause and say “Cheese?” Perhaps it’s time to start. Virginia legislators are considering endorsing and expanding the camera program which takes photographs of drivers who speed through red lights and properly punishes them. The Virginia Senate voted 32-8 to keep the cameras operating for two more years, based on research that proves they result in far fewer violations. A new study by U.Va. civil engineering professor Nicholas Garber looks at lights
in Northern Virginia and concludes that cameras cut red-light running by 21 percent. However, the study also says that the number of crashes at intersections sometimes increases after cameras are installed. At 10 of 13 Fairfax intersections studied, there were slightly more accidents with cameras than there’d been without. (Washington Post, Jan. 25)
HUMANS HELP SAVE WORLD FROM BIG FREEZE
According to new findings from a team of American climate experts, if it were not for greenhouse gases produced by humans, the world would be well on the way to a frozen Armageddon. There is evidence that changes in solar radiation and greenhouse gas concentrations should have driven the Earth towards glacial conditions over the past few thousand years. The research was carried out by an American team, led by U.Va.’s William Ruddiman, who used a climate model to test what would happen if these greenhouse gases were reduced to their “natural” level and found that without the human contribution to global warming, Baffin Island in the Arctic would today be in a condition of “incipient glaciation.” (The Scotsman, Jan. 24)
NOVA KEEPS EXPANDING
If you think Charlottesville is growing, be happy you’re not about two hours north. Northern Virginia’s double-digit growth rate is driving up the state’s population, according to estimates. U.Va.’s Weldon Cooper Center estimates a growth rate of 12 percent, an increase of about 245,000 residents, over the past four years. Statewide, Loudoun County’s population grew at the fastest rate, while Petersburg had the slowest rate. (USA Today, Feb. 3)