Speed Cameras in the UK
As technology marches on, the now familiar roadside speed camera, Truvelo and Gatso, to name a couple, although effective within their roles, are becoming to look like “little brothers” in the authorities efforts to maintain speed and safety levels on our increasingly busy road network.
One of the modern additions to speed monitoring is the SPECS system. As the cost of the installation of this type of camera has fallen, so its popularity with the relevant authorities has grown.
The principle difference with SPECS is that it does not take a snap of a passing vehicle from a fixed point in time and speed.
It is usually employed on dual carriageways or motorways, through road works or lengths of road with a perceived higher hazard levels.
SPECS works using a number of cameras on gantries over up to four carriage ways wide, in a series of regular intervals over the required length of speed monitoring.
These cameras utilise the most up to-date video technology alongside ANPR (automatic number plate recognition) systems.
The difference with SPECS over more familiar speed cameras is that it recognises a vehicle as it enters the speed limit zone and registers the time that that vehicle passes it.
As the vehicle progresses, another set of cameras recognise it further along, and registers the time of passing, and so on under a series of these gantries until the end, when the SPECS compares the time taken over the length of the hazard.
This will give the average speed of the vehicle over the distance which could cover many miles.
The effect this system seeks to achieve is to prevent the speeding up and then braking when the next cameras are spotted, thus lowering the hazard potential.
Some stretches of road in the UK are now permanently managed by this system.
The most recent and right up to date hi-tech system is the Highway Agency Digital Enforcement Camera System 3. Or HADECS3, and is part of the newest motorway upgrades, the smart motorway.
Smart motorway lengths are capable of closely monitoring variable numbers of lanes of traffic, and at times of heavy flow, increasing the carriageways with the inclusion of the hard shoulder as a running lane.
Speed limits to ensure large volumes of traffic can safely get from point A to point B, lowering speed limits to ensure continuous and safe flow.
HADECS3 or Redflex Hadex3, the full system can monitor these multiple lanes of traffic and as the motorway alters its variable speed limits the system recognises this and observes changing limits accordingly.