Average-speed cameras upgraded on Scotland’s A77

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When it was installed in 2005, the A77 in Scotland became the UK’s first and longest route-based average-speed camera system. With the passage of time, the original system was nearing the end of its design life and it has now been upgraded to incorporate the latest technology.

The objective of the A77 Safety Group, which was responsible for the original deployment, was to improve driver behavior and increase compliance with the speed limit for up to 65,000 motorists that use the A77 daily. Since its original introduction, there have been significant reductions in casualties along the length of the A77 in which the system operates, and the improved road safety performance of the route is being safeguarded through Transport Scotland’s investment in the latest digital camera technology for the average-speed system.

The original A77 average-speed cameras used the first generation SPECS 1 system. The refurbished system uses the latest UK Home Office Type Approved (HOTA) SPECS 3 Vector technology from Vysionics, which has been owned by the German Jenoptik group since 2014.

The upgraded system will be operational before the end of June, and extends from Dutch House near Monkton to south of Girvan. There is no increase in the number of camera stations, but some have been repositioned, based on operational experience and to improve conspicuity. The operational management of the system will be undertaken by the West Safety Camera Unit, supported by Police Scotland. The latest generation SPECS3 VECTOR units integrate two high resolution camera modules inside; one provides infrared ALPR, and the other, scene overview images. The units are capable of operating day or night, in all weather conditions. Images and data are transferred back to a centrally hosted system via a range of communication methods, including wireless technologies. Cameras can be installed in front or rear-facing orientation, and violations can be recorded between multiple locations and multiple lanes within the system.

“Safety is an absolute priority and the investment in camera upgrades are central to ensuring that we continue to positively influence driver behavior on the A77,” explained Stewart Leggett, Transport Scotland’s head of network operations. “The latest available figures for the A77 show that in the last three years there have been 77% fewer deaths and 74% fewer serious injuries, compared to the 2005 baseline. We expect the new and improved cameras will continue to support this reduction in casualties.”

Chief Superintendent Andy Edmonston, head of road policing for Police Scotland, said, “The average-speed cameras have, for 10 years now, played a major role in influencing driver behavior along the A77, and this is supported by the significant reduction in casualties and the very low level of drivers reported for exceeding the speed limit. The upgrading of the cameras as they reach the end of their operational life is a natural progression to ensuring that continuity in driver behavior is maintained across the route.”

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Tom has edited Traffic Technology International magazine and the Traffic Technology Today website since he joined the company in May 2014. Prior to this he worked on some of the UK's leading consumer magazine titles including Men's Health and Glamour, beginning his career in journalism in 1997 after graduating with a law degree from the London School of Economics (LSE).

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