Thursday, July 30, 2009

Escort Redline versus Valentine One Reviews: End to a Long Debate?

veilguy's escort redline vs. valentine one debate

Escort Redline vs Valentine One Review: Both Stellar Performers

 Updated: 07-08-13:

Escort Redline versus Valentine One Review

Updated Escort Redline Gets Advanced Feature Set visit Escort Redline Review.

Escort Redline Raw Sensitivity versus Potentially "Higher" False Rates

I think it is going to be very interesting to see how the new Escort Redline ($499) is going to look to some [other] reviewers when historically the Valentine One ($399)—which also has possessed high sensitivity levels (and coupled with very quick response times) but [came with] higher "false" alerts as a consequence—has been historically hammered [by] some reviewers for its uber-sensitive behavior(s).

If, as I expect, the new Escort Redline will perform in the same vein ("vain") as the venerable Valentine One (but with potentially even higher sheer [radar detection] performance), it will mean that the Escort Redline will most certainly be a very significant and exciting product (a departure, really) from Escort, however, I believe the Passport Redline has the potential to create a sort of a conundrum for some of these [same] reviewers who have historically been critical of the Valentine One for the same type of performance (although to its credit, Escort has been very clear about its intended behavior and purpose).

I believe this is going to be very interesting to see how this plays out online, will there be moral clarity/consistency, or not?

If the Escort Passport Redline, is praised for its high raw performance even while it comes with a higher level of potential "falsing" then what does it mean for all the historical reviews of the Valentine One which have historically criticized the V1 for possessing the same type (or similar) behavior to radar sources (from bonafide police radar and not)?

I, for one, have always appreciated what the Valentine One is/has been and its design approach philosophically and I welcome Escort's decision to offer a windshield-mount radar detector possessing potentially the same philosophical design elements while remaining (myself) entirely consistent on this matter.

Here's are just two examples of the inconsistencies that have existed with some other reviews.

For a long-time, the Valentine One was the most expensive windshield-mount radar detector (although its price point has stayed unchanged at $399). Reviewers have always hammered the V1 on its high price...that was until Escort and Beltronics started introducing products that were priced even higher. Do you recall reading any reviews about those products being excessively priced? I don't recall seeing them.

Remember the review calling the V1 the "chicken-little" of radar detectors and the subsequent references to that review from Automobile Magazine? Are you catching my drift? How about the notions of the V1 as being a "noisy" and "old" radar detector compared to the "latest" [quiet] model like the Passport 9500ix.

Having journalistic integrity is more important to me than winning any popularity contest from my readers or from the manufacturers (whose products) I review, no matter what price I may have paid for having that conviction.

If, indeed, the Escort Passport Redline may finally put to rest this long-raging (longest and most passionate?) debate in our very small industry (although laser detection performance will very likely remain a decided win in Valentine's favor) with both the manufacturers and their [very] passionate group of consumers, it will still not detract from my appreciation and respect for what I believe has been one of the most purely designed pieces of consumer electronics for nearly two decades, the V1.

Cool Runnings, Peace be da Journey...

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Veil Guy

Tuesday, July 28, 2009

Escort Redline: Extreme Escort Redline Performance in a Windshield-Mount

escort redlineEscort Redline Windshield-Mount Radar Detector

New Escort Redline Radar Detector Officially Announced Today by Escort

Escort Redline Radar Detector

Updated: 06/01/2013

Update: Escort has recently released an improved version of the Escort Redline.

Given Escort's public announcement of the up-and-coming Escort Redline radar detector, I am heartened to report that the Escort Redline radar detector will be all about performance with an emphasis on no-holds-barred sensitivity and (I hope) quickness to alerting and a de-emphasis on being heavily filtered (to reduce falses).

It sounds like the new Escort Redline model will finally unlock the potential of the RDD-undetectable M3 platform (the same used in the Beltronics STi Driver, Passport 9500ci, and Beltronics STi-R models) in a windshield-mount.

But, beware, this is not your father's Escort.

While the Escort brand (with the exception of their blistering $1600 Escort Passport 9500ci custom installed remote) has historically placed an emphasis on being the quietest (but still highly sensitive) radar detectors (as most recently manifested in the Escort Passport 9500ix), Escort appears to have finally given the "red-meat" to those asking for Passport 9500ci-like performance, but in a windshield-mount with the Escort Redline.

Generally, this is something that has been historically accomplished by the sister company Beltronics brand with the models like the venerable Beltronics STi Driver and, of course, the Beltronics STi-R custom remote radar detectors.

I am pleased that with the Escort Redline, Escort customers will now have a viable alternative to the otherwise Escort Passport 9500ix (a radar detector with an emphasis on filtering and being quiet).

Now I am waiting for the addition of two things, GPS capability (for photo detection and variable sensitivity) and Shifter ZR4 interfacing capability.

I still believe that model would be the ultimate windshield-mount radar detector.

I trust, in time, we'll see that model, as well.

Once we get our hands on a production version of this new Redline detector, we'll follow-up with a detailed and thorough review, as always.

In the meantime, it appears that with the Escort Redline, extreme performance appears to be finally coming in a small package...but again, this radar detector won't be for everyone. You have received your warning.

Gentlemen (and ladies), start your engines, the REDLINE is coming, the REDLINE is coming!

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Veil Guy

Monday, July 27, 2009

Photo Enforcement Safety Benefits: Separating Fact from Fiction

Speed Camera Photo Enforcement

Photo Enforcement Safety Benefits: Distinguishing Fact from Fiction (Part II)

Evaluation of the Executive Summary of the Report Entitled, Evaluation of the City of Scottsdale's Loop 101 Photo Enforcement Program, Draft Summary.

Updated: 28 JUL 09, 1840EST

In my previous blog post, I laid the groundwork and context for this series of related posts.

In this part, I look at the Executive Summary of the preliminary analysis results of the fixed speed-enforcement camera demonstration program (SEP) that was "conducted" on Arizona State Route 101 (a.k.a. Loop 101) during the period of January 2006 through October 2006 (a duration of approximately 10 months).

The stated purpose of this "evaluation "program was to quantify the following five elements:
  • The impact of the SEP (photo enforcement program) on speeding detections (76mph or faster)
  • The impact of the SEP (photo enforcement program) on average speeds
  • The effect of the SEP (photo enforcement program) on traffic safety (ie; motor vehicle crashes)
  • The expected economic costs and benefits of the SEP (photo enforcement program)
  • The financial public perception impacts of the program
The "evaluation" was administered (but not conducted) by the Arizona Department of Transportation (ADOT) and utilized data from a variety of sources, namely the Arizona Department of Public Safety (for crash report data), ADOT itself (for data, traffic volume, and speed data), the Arizona Crash Outcome Data Evaluation Systems (for crash data and crash costs), the National Highway [Traffic] Safety Administration (NHTSA) and Redflex (for detection rates and traffic speeds).

In essence, the vendor standing to benefit most from a "favorable" outcome of this "evaluation" program, was Redflex itself. Does this sound a bit like asking the proverbial fox to guard the hen house?

OK. Here is where the fun begins.

The evaluation program was to look at four key time periods:
  • The before SEP (photo enforcement program) period
  • The SEP (photo enforcement program) warning period, only warnings issued to drivers
  • The SEP (photo enforcement program) violation period, actual citations issued to drivers
  • The after SEP (photo enforcement program) period, system no longer utilized during evaluation study
The Scottsdale SEP program employed 6 speed cameras on a 6.5 mile section of Loop 101 within the city limits of Scottsdale.

Now keep in mind the primary objective of the SEP program was to assess potential safety and cost benefits (of reduced speeding detections) in terms of an assumed consequence of overall reduction of crash and injury rates.

The very periods likely to have the highest rates of crashes (particularly multi-vehicle accidents or MVAs) or associated injuries are periods of high vehicle density, like those during morning and evening rush-hours, for obvious reasons.

Would you be surprised if I told you that those periods were specifically left out of the speed detection portion of the program?

The reason? Simple.

The report itself stated that during peak-hour traffic, speeds were constrained by congestion, and therefore it was highly unlikely that high speeds (defined as an excess of 11mph over the PSL of 65) were even possible!

For this "reason" speed data were discarded or not measured. In other words, the times when crashes were potentially at their highest rates, speeding could have not be a direct causation factor, but other dynamics were more likely to be, such as excessive traffic density, driver inattentiveness, poor vehicle maintenance, and/or inadequate highway engineering designs.

I find this a remarkable admission.

I suspect had that data been included, the overall "beneficial effects" of "reduced crash rates" as a they were related to speed (ie; the positive effects of the SEP program) would be have been futher marginalized.

For convenience and for the sake of Redflex being able to call their program a "success," speed data from the most dangerous periods were completely ignored! Furthermore, the report stated that empirical data sets were either extremely limited or completely non-existent.

To make up for these deficits of real empirical and concrete (independently generated) data, the "authors" instead relied upon limited data (from another section of the highway and not even in the city limits of Scottsdale!) and the reliance on complex statistical models, instead, the kind that only individuals with Ph.Ds would use.

By using data from an entirely different portion of the highway and with a reliance on "hocus-pocus" math, the underlying integrity of the report's conclusions was severely undermined.

As if this wasn't enough...

Even with the limited data and the massaged statistical analyses, their findings suggested an increase (33%) of rear-end type multi-vehicle (MVA) crash-rates (not at all surprising considering the unsafe dynamics these photo enforcement systems create, such as "traffic porpoising"), though the report also suggested a somewhat paradoxical finding that the related injuries were reduced (by 12.57%).

In reality, one would expect injuries associated with such crash-type (along with offset or head-on collisions) to be of the most serious nature (ie; spinal/neck).

The executive summary also suggested that increases in these rear-end crash types were swapped for decreases in other types (ie; potentially less severe ones). In plain english, this meant the crash reductions did not necessarily occur, but different (ie; more severe) crash types, did.

I find this an even more remarkable admission.

However, the report did indicate that this comparison of the program evaluation periods to the "before program periods" did not consider other factors that could have or would have accounted for the varying accident rates observed or calculated, such as weather or other roadway conditions (like construction zones or lane restrictions).

Even with its limited amount of concrete empirical data, the report basically concluded that the SEP program reduced average speeds by approximately 9.5 mph, during its implementation.

Now that may sound like a lot until one one considers that highway posted limits should be set to the 85th percentile of speed (according to ITE engineering standards).

Therefore, if Loop 101 had a more appropriate posted limit of 70mph or 75mph (again, only obtainable during non-peak times), then these "speed detection reductions" would have be entirely irrelevant.

Stated another way, it appears to me that the SEP program only confirmed that the appropriate PSL (posted speed limit) should be raised in accordance with normal traffic flow rates (and that it remains 5mph to 10mph too low).

The report's executive summary of the SEP report does "come clean" in certain respects:
  • The "results" were based on small and incomplete [data] samples. (ie; insufficient data)
  • The "results" were based upon incomplete time (ie; insufficient time where random fluctuations of crash were common and could have influenced the results substantially)
  • Crash result trends were made at another site and crash data was used from high-peak periods (ie; rush-hour) even though speed detections were ignored for same periods.
Another interesting golden nugget suggested in the executive summary of this preliminary report of the 101 Loop SEP evaluation program was the admission that the highway of Scottsdale 101 (Loop 101) was already statistically safer to drive than other highways throughout the country!

Perhaps, this was the report's most remarkable admission for several reasons.

This acknowledgment, suggests the obvious: that speed, in-and-of-itself, is/was not a major contributor to highway crash or injury rates or has a limited adverse impact on overall highway safety.

Why would a city that was being actively lobbied at the time by Redflex and/or ATS conduct such a test [for/with] these very same companies who were (at the same time) forecasting huge potential profits from 'exploitation' of the marketplace?

Why would the findings (ie; conclusions) from this preliminary report be used to drive legislative policy nearly two years before the final report was to see the light of day?

Answer (to both questions): Follow the money.

How the SEP could be described as an "unqualified" success (by others not financially connected to its findings) would be a bit of a stretch.

How the report concluded (as it did later) that an increase of 33% in rear-end crashes as a result of the SEP was a "negligible" increase and an "equitable" exchange for less-severe accidents, would be a bit more than a bit of stretch.

That's enough analysis for now, because if you are like me, your head may dizzy from all the spin.

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©2009, all rights reserved. no portion of this article may be reproduced without expressed consent of the author.

Sunday, July 26, 2009

Intelligent Transportation Systems' Safety Benefits: Separating Truth from Falsehood

Privacy and due-process robbing technology saturating the streets of greater Phoenix, Arizona metro area administered by for-profit industry.

Intelligent Transportation Systems' Safety Benefits: Separating Truth from Falsehood (Part I)

Updated: 28 JUL 09, 1845EST

I have long considered covering this extended and complex topic with my readers, but as it has been a challenging and time consuming task, especially when one considers how much reading and fact-checking is required, as such, it has taken longer than I had originally anticipated.

Nonetheless, I will attempt to do this subject matter justice, not just because of the high-degree of misinformation generally surrounding such studies (often by design of the publishers) but also because their objectives are routinely politically and/or economically motivated.

One Huge Benefit of Intelligent Transportation Systems (ie; Photo Enforcement Programs) is Money from your Pocket into Theirs.

My goal is to truthfully answer questions about the supposed safety and economic benefits raised by certain government sanctioned reports of Automated Photo Enforcement Systems (mis-labeled as Intelligent Transportation Systems).

I am going to start this series with a look at one particular "feasibility study" undertaken by RedFlex, the Arizona Department of Transportation, the City of Scottsdale, and the Department of Civil & Environmental Engineering of Arizona State University with Simon Washingtion, Ph.D (and two of his colleagues: Kangwon Shin & Ida Van Shalkwyk).

There are two reports connected with this study (formally called the SEP or Safety Enforcement Program). The first is a preliminary report which then later became the second and final report.

For the purposes of this post, I will focus on the initial report entitled, "Evaluation of the City of Scottsdale Loop 101 Photo Enforcement Demonstration Program: Draft Summary Report" which was originally dated January 11th, 2007, a report that can no longer be found online. Fortunately, we kept a copy as it originally appeared.

To appreciate the context of this preliminary/summary report and for the brief analysis that follows you should know that Scottsdale Arizona has long-served as a photo-enforcement friendly city (as does the entire state of Arizona). For more than a decade the state has served as host to two of the largest private and for-profit photo-enforcement companies, American Traffic Systems (ATS) and foreign-owned Australia-based company, Redflex.

Both of them have a rich and long history of lobbying government legislatures while at the same time forecasting explosive revenue (ie; sales) growth for both red light camera and speed camera enforcement to their investors.

It's also important to understand that for the purposes of ADOT's (Arizona Department of Transportation) and Scottsdale's photo enforcement exercise (SEP evaluation), much of the underlying data used (to drive the reports' conclusions) were provided by Redflex, the vendor financially benefiting from the program study.

For the sake of report integrity the data should have been independently measured and tabulated by those skilled-in-the-art and whom have little or no financial stake in the outcome.

This fundamental lapse of integrity is why at the core of the SEP, the subsequent reports' findings as well those diluted summaries which followed (used to promote such systems elsewhere), the results and conclusions proferred were fatally flawed.

I'll begin discussing/dissecting the accuracy of the preliminary report by first examining it's initial disclaimer (emphasis is mine as is text in yellow.):

The contents of the report reflect the views of the authors who are responsible for the facts and the accuracy of the data presented herein. (This is a false claim for the underlying data was collected and presented by Redflex itself.). The contents do not necessarily reflect the official views or policies of the Arizona Department of Transportation or the Federal Highway Administration. This report does not constitute a standard, specification, or regulation. (Indeed, the "conclusions" of this preliminary report did, in fact, precipitate state-wide legislative and regulatory supporting efforts, not just those of the City of Scottsdale). Trade or manufacturers' names which may appear herein are cited only because they are considered essential to the objectives of the report. (The objectives of Redflex and ATS were and continue to be the successful lobbying of these very same legislative and regulatory bodies for the support of their company's products and services with huge monetary inducements[a.k.a. glorified kickbacks] in the form of what amounts to an unconstitutional tax on motorists) The U.S. Government and the State of Arizona do not endorse products or manufacturers. (This claim is entirely false, as the data provided and the objectives of the report(s) are to increase the use of RedFlex's and/or American Traffic Solutions' products and services).

Just in the preliminary report's initial disclaimer, every statement was factually inaccurate.

Now compare this disclaimer to Redflex's own "statements" in their financial report from the same period.

Redflex outlines a strategic plan to influence the legislative process.

Is it coincidence that the local city which hosts their Redflex's U.S. corporate-headquarters has undertaken such a SEP evaluation study during the same time Redflex is actively lobbying and selling their products and services? Answer: Absolutely Not.

Note top two priorities are directly tied to declining operating budgets and increased deficits (ie; tax-revenue shortfalls) to see how these studies are largely economically and politically driven (ie; there's the kickback to the politicians and the definition of their growing demographic, the U.S. taxpayer).

Unfortunately, the report's distortions/inaccuracies didn't stop there.

In future posts, I will continue dissect more of this preliminary report and the related one that followed well as the derivatives that continue to float around various government agencies and industry trade groups. When we're finished, you'll have a better sense about how safe these photo enforcement systems really are and what really are the underlying motivations behind their deployment, not only in Scottsdale but elsewhere, as well.

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Thursday, July 23, 2009

Rocky Mountain Radar (RMR) at Best Buy Retailer

"Follow the money," Rocky Mountain Radar (RMR) at Best Buy Retailer

Updated 25 JUL 09, 2250

Radar Roy called me first thing this morning to inform me about Best Buy's recent decision to sell Rocky Mountain Radar (RMR) products (self-proclaimed effective passive radar countermeasures), at what's sure to be very high profit margins.

It is unfortunate that the management of Best Buy has made the same unscrupulous and/or incompetent choice to put their corporate seal of approval on a company's products that have been so thoroughly discredited by so many independent sources over many years as Rocky Mountain Radar (RMR).

Radio Shack once made the same unfortunate choice a number of years ago and also chose to subject their loyal customers to sham products, if even for a relatively short period of time.

Unfortunately, the actions of Best Buy doesn't only hurt their customers—who rely on the name Best Buy as a reliable shopping/retail brand in its own right—it also hurts the other legitimate manufacturers like Veil (a proven effective passive laser countermeasure) as well as the other established companies in this ever so small industry like: Beltronics, Blinder, Cheetah, Cobra, Escort, Ontrack, Valentine, and Whistler.

It even hurts the legitimate online dealers who have chosen not to fleece their trusting customers by selling patently bogus products, dealers like Buy Radar Detectors and Radar Busters.

I can only hope with the awareness by postings like this, Best Buy will rethink their choice of carrying such disreputable brands like RMR or KAT.

For our part, we are pleased to report that Veil does not and will not have a direct selling relationship with any retailer that engages in duping their customers with bogus products.

To us, some things are more important than the love-of-money or profit, like truth, integrity, and honor, things that should infinitely more valuable to us as individual citizens and to good corporate citizens.

Please don't support those retailers, with your hard-earned dollars, who sell such products and pressure the related manufacturers of other related products to not allow those retailers to carry their products until such time those sham products are no longer offered for sale by them.

If you are interested to learn more factual information about Rocky Mountain Radar and radar jamming in general, please refer to the following article: Rocky Mountain Radar Radar Jammers Factual Informational Guide.

If you want to read the real-deal about the real-world performance of Rocky Mountain Radar (RMR) and their related KAT (Kick A#% Technologies) products, you will plainly see these products actually get their-own A$$ess Kicked (AKT) when they are subjected to real-independent tests like those conducted by, Speed Measurement Labs (SML) and Radar Test.

To learn more about Roy's crusade and to learn how to actively make your own voice heard please refer to the following post.

And remember, caveat emptor.

My personal suggestion is to contact the other related manufacturers and "pressure" them to pull RMR's/KAT's product(s) from Best Buy or any other major retailer who engages in selling such products (some major manufacturers contact numbers).

Best Buy Corporate Office: 612-291-1000
Beltronics: 800-341-2288
Cobra: 773-889-3087
Escort: 800-964-3138
Whistler: 800-531-0004

Veil Guy

Wednesday, July 22, 2009

Best Laser Detectors Review and Comparisons Test 2009

Ultimate Best Laser Detectors Reviews and Comparison Tests 2009

As some of my close followers know, I have been in the process of revisiting our groundbreaking laser detectors review and comparison test that we conducted nearly three and a half years ago.

Since that time laser detection performance has noticeably improved on most models and new models have been introduced into the marketplace as well as a couple of hybrid laser detection/laser jamming systems.

We felt that time now merited a re-visit with the latest versions of the most popular selling police lasers.

I am pleased to report that after a good number of long days and some delays that the results have finally been tabulated and charted.

Beyond our improved performance charts, I hope you find the commentary as illuminating.

Enjoy the following full review!

Ultimate Best Laser Detectors Reviews and Comparison Tests 2009

Veil Guy