I don't think there are as many "speed traps" as used to be years ago. When I think of speed traps I think of them as being where the speed limit is changed or set to some unrealistically low value knowing that people will usually exceed it and then set up patrolling officers in specific locations to hide and catch people. I know, years ago, Killen was listed in many records to be a speed trap. Also I've heard people cite Rogersville as another location specifically to the east of the town on 72 where the speed limit was set to 45 until you get past the Elk River bridge. I believe though that the current speed through that area has been increased from 45 to 55 now with 45 being through the Rogersville area.
One more note on "speed traps" and that is also to include areas or communities where no police force is warranted, due to size, but there exist a large number of officers or far more than warranted for the population and area. In those instances I think it's fair to wonder if the local area isn't trying to increase it's revenue by tickets but there again I've just heard that was the case.
Lastly, I believe one thing that hurts this portion of North Alabama is what was alluded to by another and that is the traffic management (or lack of it) in the area. Traffic engineering is sorely lacking but then I'm sure there are also reasons they put so many traffic light intersections and more so today those intersections are governed by in street sensors rather than traffic light timers as they were years ago. In the case of timers you had lights changing at various times whether there was conflicting traffic waiting to cross or not. The in-road inductance (presence) sensors now trigger lights only when presence of vehicles are sensed and that helps traffic flow. Usually the inductance (presence) sensors also work jointly with timers also. The setting of the sensors and timer combinations are part of traffic engineering. Many companies though want fast access to interstates and this area is hampered because we aren't closer to an interstate and then another thing that hampers Northwest Alabama is the lack of a larger airport. I'm sure lot of things go into industries making decisions of where to locate such as education and training around the area they are locating and population of highly skilled workers.
Weren't we supposed to be having a huge amusement/music park under way by now over in the Shoals area? Yeah right. Everyone knew that was a pipe dream that never would see the light of day.