Austroads backs expansion of point-to-point speed cameras

Report commissioned by government transport departments supports monitoring all vehicles under the scheme and possibly expanding it to urban roads

Austroads backs expansion of point-to-point speed cameras
Austroads backs expansion of point-to-point speed cameras
By Brad Gardner | September 24, 2012

A report from a collection of government transport agencies has backed an expansion of point-to-point speed cameras, including looking at installing them in urban environments.

Austroads, which brings together transport departments from across Australia, local governments and the New Zealand Transport Agency, has completed a review of point-to-point speed enforcement internationally.

Designed to provide guidance for Australian and New Zealand transport departments using the technology, the report says all vehicle types should be monitored under the scheme.

New South Wales currently limits point-to-point speed enforcement to heavy vehicles, while all motorists in Victoria, Queensland and South Australia are monitored. Western Australia does not use the cameras, while the Northern Territory has no plans to install them.

"Point-to-point speed enforcement systems should be implemented with the capacity to monitor all vehicle types, even if the initial implementation does not require this capability, and where feasible, should be used to monitor all possible vehicle types," the report says.

The report says Australian governments have focused on installing point-to-point cameras on rural and regional sections of highway in Australia.

"However, the use of point-to-point speed enforcement in urban/residential environments should be further explored. Indeed, the use of the approach on urban arterial roads and residential streets is increasing, particularly in the United Kingdom," the report says.

It goes on to say expanding the coverage of point-to-point cameras will achieve greater road safety benefits. However, it adds that enforcement agencies should not come to rely solely on the technology.

"Indeed, there is limited evidence to suggest that the approach has a substantial impact on other illegal, high-risk driving behaviours (eg failure to wear restraints, drink and drug driving)," the report says.

"Thus, routine patrols should continue to be conducted within the enforcement corridor, particularly when the enforcement corridor is relatively lengthy."

According to the report, point-to-point cameras improve compliance with speeding laws and reduce crashes. It also claims strong support among the public for the devices.

"Overall, research indicates positive attitudes of motorists towards the use of point-to-point speed enforcement and it generally enjoys a higher level of public support than other speed enforcement approaches," Austroads says.

The report details a long list of recommendations for governments to consider, including rigorous testing of the devices, education campaigns to increase public awareness and evaluation studies.

It says governments should use point-to-point cameras in conjunction with existing automated and manually-operated speed cameras to increase compliance with speeding laws.

Transport departments support individual jurisdictions retaining the power to set the point at which a person will be detected for speeding. Austroads also opposes using point-to-point cameras as an attempt by governments to avoid their road maintenance responsibilities.

"Point-to-point speed enforcement should not represent a long-term alternative to addressing underlying road design or maintenance deficiencies on sections of road, which would be better addressed through engineering solutions," it says.

The report says point-to-point technology is relatively new in Australia compared to Europe and the UK. It says England has significantly increased the use of the technology since first trialing it in 1999. The cameras also operate in Scotland and Northern Ireland.

The Netherlands, Italy and Switzerland have adopted point-to-point cameras, while Belgium, Finland, France, Norway, the Czech Republic and Spain have or are trialing them.

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