Highways Agency plans new speed cameras
Plus over £100m to go on traffic database
England's road agency will spend around £58m over four years on digital cameras, primarily to monitor variable speed limits.
The cameras ordered may also be used to measure average speeds, as well as monitor hard shoulder running, closed lanes and temporary speed enforcement.
Equipment will have to undergo "extensive prototyping and proving," according to a tender notice published on 18 September 2009 in the Official Journal of the European Union. This will include Home Office Type Approval, the process by which cameras are certified for measuring speeds for use in issuing penalties.
Suppliers to the framework agreement are likely to spend two years on the design and approval of equipment, then four years on supplying, installing, commissioning and further developing. This will be followed by a decade of operational support and maintenance.
The Highways Agency is planning to increase its use of active traffic management, already in place on London's M25 motorway as well as motorways to the east and north of Birmingham, where speed limits and use of hard shoulders are heavily managed and monitored to minimise congestion.
Such management, which the government sees as a way of allowing more capacity without building new roads or lanes, relies on extensive use of cameras, both for checking the variable speed limits used and to monitor usage.
The agency has also issued tenders recently for a National Traffic Information Service, valued at £100m to £200m, and an asset management system worth up to £80m.
This article was originally published at Kable.
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A/C@Wednesday 23rd September 2009 08:19 GMT
If your foreign plate is an EU one then you're in for a nasty surprise. The systems are being linked, and although they may have trouble dunning you for the money it will be quite possible for a UK speed camera to snap a, say, French car, and the presumed driver will have the points applied to his/her French licence.
More cross-border co-operation from your Big EU Brothers...
Variable Speed Limits
Driving on the M25 regularly, I have to disagree entirely with the people saying that ATM and variable speed limits work. They don't. It is very marked the sudden change in traffic behaviour as you pass under the A3 and enter the "managed" section of the M25 heading for Heathrow. Free flowing traffic cruising at 80 will slow down and bunch up as everyone stops looking at the road and starts paying attention only to their speedo. The exact opposite is true coming the other way, leave the cameras behind and the traffic moves faster and better.
The speed limits are arbitrarily changed with little or no relation to the traffic conditions. A 40 limit is invariably pointless as the traffic is already stationary. Other limits only slow traffic down for no visible reason, frequently on nearly empty roads that could happily be cruising at normal speed.
I'm aware the theoretical mathematical model that the system is based on supposedly shows that slowing the traffic improves flow but experience shows the model doesn't reflect how a real road with real traffic on it behaves.
The gantries should be used only to inform drivers of conditions ahead. They should be up to date and accurate. Even then drivers should only use them as *additional* information to add to what they can see around and ahead of them. An aid to the independent assessment and decision making process that drivers should be constantly engaged in. If drivers cannot do that and need to be told how fast to drive by a sign then they are not competent to drive, it's really that simple. Get rid of all the incompetent drivers by revoking licenses and you'll go a hell of a long way to cutting congestion and the frequency of incidents. A driving license is a privilege, not a right, and it should be revoked if the required standard of driving is not met. Cause an incident? Revoke the license and force retraining and retesting. Once you've been at fault 3 times, revoke it forever.
Most of the dangerous things I see on the road everyday are perpetrated below the speed limit. Even the Home Office's own figures show that only 8% of incidents are caused by speed. Get traffic cops out on the road to sort the bad driving out, no camera will ever be able to do that. Speed is simply not the issue, bad driving is.
"So incorrect you're not even going to mention them? Right.."
No, I said "So wrong in your assumptions it's not even worth mentioning. ", if you are going to quote, please quote correctly.
Well since you asked:
"Simple maths for politicians. Let's say we have one lane, and 50m between cars (which is actually pretty good on a busy motorway). 50m at 70mph equals 1.6s. So over the course of an hour we can put a maximum of 2252 vehicles down that lane if they're doing 70mph. Now let's say we have the same distance between cars and we're driving at 80mph. 50m at 80mph equals 1.4s. So over the course of an hour we can put a maximum of 2574 vehicles down that line. By similar working, we can only do 1930 vehicles at 60mph."
But we don't drive at the same distances at different speeds and decreasing average speed increases flow rate up to a point so that is a faulty assumption on which your case is built.
"So in this example, if we could keep the lorries (typically doing 60mph) out of the way of the cars (typically doing 80mph), we can get a 33% increase in the number of cars going through. That leads to one simple conclusion - ban lorries overtaking, and you'll get better road links."
So many things wrong here. It would be nice if it were so but not all lorries do or can do 60, not all cars do, can do or will do more than 60, so you won't necessarily get a 33% increase. In fact it would probably get worse as all the cars got stuck behind the volvo doing 60 in the outside lanes and the inside line is now completely congested with lorries. Then consider exiting a motorway across a single lane of nose to tail lorries.
"There's another reason too, which is that the biggest cause of accidents is having to rapidly respond to changes in speed of othe traffic," Proof?
"and the biggest cause of these changes of speed is dealing with overtaking lorries." Proof?
"Sure, it's the driver's fault that they can't react, but it's the lorry driver's fault that he's pulling out into a stream of fast-approaching traffic" Bit of a blanket assumption?
"In other words, if you ban lorries overtaking, you'll also reduce your accident rate practically to zero overnight." All the premises of the argument are mistaken, so that conclusion can't be drawn.
"So forget speed cameras. If no lorry is allowed to overtake anyone or anything, ever, then we'll have safer, faster roads." Yes, I am sure that's a really practical answer.
Nuff said, and excellent troll, mate.