Average Speed Camera Network

By December 19, 2010 7 Comments

It seems that the pilot project in First Ring Road (seen in the image below) was successful. I’m sure you’ve all seen the cameras that apparently don’t do anything. They are average speed cameras. Don’t worry, they haven’t been issuing fines yet (though they will starting Feb 2011). We’ve mentioned this before in our Traffic page. The idea is fairly simple; Two cameras photograph license plates and since the distance between the cameras is known, they can calculate the average speed of the cars.

Photo by Mark, 248am.com

What this means is that drivers no longer have an incentive to slow down before a camera, which is a major source of accidents. Even if you do slow down and speed up after passing one of them, it will still fine you if you average above the speed limit. You can’t avoid it.

It works by scanning the license plate of every car that passes through it. That’s why they changed the license plates recently to allow for better recognition. It uses an infra-red camera to photograph the car, so it works at night without a flash. The yellow thing is the infra-red light emitter. They have a state of the art data center built for this and they’re going to be using it for national security purposes and traffic monitoring as well.

Once the system is implemented it is possible to use the information to map real time traffic patterns. An interactive traffic map can be automatically generated and updated in real time. This would be published online so people can plan their routes. It’s possible that it could be integrated into car navigation systems so your route would be automatically adjusted based on traffic patterns. Software could be developed to create web and iPhone apps that take advantage of open source traffic information.

Photo by Mark, 248am.com

The only way we can reduce fatal car crashes is by making it impossible to get away with speeding. The current system is pathetically easy to fool. No system is foolproof, and neither is this one (you can install a reflective film over your license plate that messes with the recognition system), but it is far better than what we have now. I’m all for this, on all major roads in Kuwait.

Join the discussion 7 Comments

  • Adam says:

    So the cameras will not start working until Feb 2011. How do you know that? Trusted source or rumor? Will they announce on TV or papers before they start working? Doesn’t parliament have to approve this new system?

    • The original plan was that the pilot would end in February, but I’m not entirely sure if they’re sticking to the schedule. That’s where I got the date. The cameras have been functional for months but it was just a demo.
      No idea if parliament have to approve this, but i don’t see why, since they’re not hidden. Its also a lot safer since there’s no flash to startle drivers.

  • Khalid says:

    hal deera intarsat cameras o ppl still driving fast!!

    • Yes, but they’re not effective at all. We all know how to fool them. If there was a system in place that forces people to constantly drive the speed limit, then roads will be safer.
      Driving to the chalet might take 15 minutes longer, but we’ll be saving countless lives.

  • bumo says:

    On the 4th ring road just after the intersection with airport road(55) just in front of the nurseries there used to be a speed camera and that road was always busy as hell. The speed camera has been removed and now the road runs smoother than ever.
    Speed cameras cause more problems than they prevent. Try to monitor the speed around speed cameras and you will realize that the road gets a lot busier and dangerous around speed cameras.
    The fix for the busy streets and tragic car accidents is simple.
    Enforce a minimum speed limit law and people will be moving at fair speeds relative to each other.
    This will help in a lot of ways. First of all you wont get people driving 40KPH on 80KPH roads causing traffic jams and road rage for the drivers stuck behind them. This will also mean traffic moves a lot smoother and smooth is fast. If you can prevent road rage and prevent the need for someone to speed past the slow driver you may prevent reckless overtaking. This wont prevent car accidents but it will allow for less dramatic car accidents because of the relatively closer speeds of the cars when they crash.
    Less dramatic car accidents, where the difference of speed at the moment of impact is 20KPH or less should mean there would be minimal wreckage if any, which would mean the streets wouldn’t need to stop or slow down to a halt.
    It’s not speed that will kill you, it’s suddenly coming to a stop that will get you.

  • “Speed cameras cause more problems than they prevent.” That’s true, but only because people slow down suddenly before every speed camera. They can’t do that with an average speed camera.
    I agree that slow drivers are sometimes to blame for accidents, but it’s harder to enforce minimum speed limits.
    I think you’re wrong about accidents, though. Speed is almost always the most dangerous variable, since it limits your reaction time, makes everything more dangerous because of momentum and it’s more liable to result in a massive pileup. Even if they’re at the same speed.
    At the end of the day, we really have to reduce the amount of cars on the road and provide a viable alternative to driving. Only by having a valid alternative (Metro, etc) can we realistically start making driving less desirable (taxes, higher gas prices, congestion charging, parking fines, etc).
    Also, I hope this was sarcastic: “It’s not speed that will kill you, it’s suddenly coming to a stop that will get you.” 🙂

  • […] Blanket the country with average speed cameras. […]

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