How To Waste A Million Dollars

A few years ago, I wrote about how I believed the Missouri Department of Transportation had wasted a million dollars installing variable speed limit signs all along Interstate 270. I also pointed out that these signs were illegal because they did not comply with the Manual of Uniform Traffic Control Devices (MUTCD), not to mention being ineffective at actually slowing traffic down. I wrote the following:

The Post described this as an experiment. Well, it’s an experiment that costs too much, is in violation of the law, and is potentially unsafe for St. Louis area drivers. It’s an experiment we can live without.

This week, the Post Dispatch ran a story confirming what all of us have known for the past three years: these variable speed limit signs have been utterly ignored by drivers and have had no appreciable impact on highway congestion. Later this year, all of the new signs will be labeled as ‘advisory only’ meaning that they are no longer enforceable. The experiment failed. Thanks, MoDOT, for wasting a million bucks on something that we could have told you from day one would never work.

[UPDATE: Oct 16, 2013] Today the Post Dispatch ran this story announcing MoDOT’s plans to remove all of the variable speed limit signs. I guess the experiment is finally over.

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