Have you ever been to a city where they have cameras that film people who run red lights? 

The first time I saw one of these was in Phoenix, AZ when I was just a kid. It brought up memories of the novel "1984" when I saw the video cameras on the traffic lights, but I didn't exactly understand what they were for.

When my uncle explained that they were to catch people running red lights I had mixed feelings about it, even as a kid. On the one hand, running a red light can cause an accident, but on the other hand, it felt sort of sneaky getting a ticket without being pulled over. 

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That technology, according to one source, is actually in hundreds of communities now. But as technology has advanced over the decades, they're coming up with new “gotcha technology” to keep streets safer, or at least, more pleasant.  

Noise Cameras 

The latest version of traffic violation cameras are the noise cameras you’ve maybe heard about. They started using them in the UK and a program was approved for New York City. These are designed to measure the decibels of sound coming from a vehicle and if it’s too loud, the camera will start filming to document the driver's license plate. 

Just like when we reviewed the technology that would add a fourth traffic light at intersections, you have to wonder. Would this work in Missoula? 

Noise in Missoula

Missoula traffic is relatively quiet in my opinion. Missoula also has a noise ordinance that says you can't have Jake brakes and indicates other limitations on sound.  

But there are also a lot of loud noises in Missoula.  

One example is the trains. The city's Engage Missoula site has a "Railroad Quiet Zone" project and they are continuing to work on reducing noise at the Spruce/Greenough train intersection.

In general, Missoula presents a challenge because we live in a valley which is almost like living in a sound shell. Noise is amplified by the surrounding hills and mountains.  

Then there’s the Griz games. The University of Montana football games are known as having some of the loudest fans in the entire country. And arguably this is a great honor. 

So do you think noise cameras would ever be used in Missoula? I'm thinking probably not. But "sound off" on the app. 

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