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Average Speed Cameras – The Facts

Transport for London is preparing for a major expansion of speed and red light camera coverage on the capital’s roads, including the possible installation of average speed cameras on four busy radial roads.

The proposals would see camera coverage increase from 250 miles of road to about 470. With London currently having about 900 digital and wet film cameras on its roads and with new ones springing up all over the place we thought now would be the time to load up on facts!

Firstly average speed or SPECS cameras …

What are SPECS cameras?

SPECS average speed camera systems utilise state of the art video system with Automatic Number Plate Reading (ANPR) digital technology. Consisting of a minimum of two cameras each fitted with infra red illuminators fitted on gantries above the road, so they can work day or night. SPECS speed cameras work out the vehicles average speed, given the time it takes to drive between the two camera positions.

SPECS average speed cameras are fitted either at the roadside or in the central reservation a set distance apart to create a speed controlled zone, or where appropriate, groups of cameras can be linked to create a speed controlled network.

As vehicles pass between the entry and exit camera points their number plates are digitally recorded, whether speeding or not. Then, by ANPR recognition, the images on the video of matching number plates are paired up, and because each image carries a date and time stamp, the computer can then work out your average speed between the cameras. There is no film used for SPECS.

SPECS are commonly used to enforce speed limits on dual carriageways and motorways. This is because one SPECS gantry can monitor up to four lanes of traffic at any one time.

Nottinghamshire currently has the most SPECS speed cameras with no less than 43 pairs all located in permanent sites.

So why is it different from a Gatso?

Gatso’s use film, the film runs out. An officer has to go and collect the film, adjust the unit for speed, all adding up to extra cost they don’t want.

SPECS has no film to run out, operators have to make less journeys to the site and it takes a picture of the front of the vehicle, allowing them to identify the driver if needed. It has no flash, and is much harder to spot, Radar detectors don’t detect it.

But they are springing up all around the country as the authorities seek new ways to make people obey the speed limit.

The Road Angel camera database currently has over 460 miles of average speed camera data on board. What do you think? Do you think average speed cameras have had, and will continue to have a role in reducing fatalities and serious injuries on our roads? Are there other ways safer driving could be promoted?

If you would like to share your opinions, please leave your comments below.

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