News from NZ Police
A new camera that can detect vehicles travelling at unsafe speeds across multiple lanes of traffic in one of Wellington’s worst crash risk areas is operational from today.
The new Ngauranga Gorge fixed speed camera, which features the latest advances in digital technology, is now operating after a period of rigorous testing. Other safety enforcement measures, including mobile speed cameras have been in operation while the new camera was being tested.
Police Manager Crash Investigation and Calibration Services, Inspector Mark Stables, says the exhaustive testing process was designed to ensure that the new camera met police’s strict operating criteria in a range of conditions before becoming operational.
“The Ngauranga Gorge camera has been a very effective tool in bringing down vehicle mean speeds and reducing crashes, deaths and injuries in an area of significant speed-related crash risk. The previous camera was almost 20 years old though, so it makes sense for it to be replaced by more effective and efficient technology.
“Among the new camera’s features is a dual radar-based detection system that works more efficiently, as well as software that gives us the ability to remotely configure the camera and download its data, doing away with the need to physically visit the site, except for periodic maintenance. This reduces costs as there is no film or processing requirements, nor any need for sensors to be buried in the road.”
Mr Stables says that while new vehicle technology and other improvements have contributed to increased road safety in recent years, the Ngauranga camera and others like it have had a significant impact on reducing crashes and road trauma.
Following the camera’s installation in 1998, speed-related injuries and fatalities have significantly declined in Ngauranga Gorge. In the 8-year period from 1990 to 1997, analysis of crashes in the southbound lanes of the gorge shows there were 25 speed related crashes, including two fatalities and four serious injuries. But in the subsequent 15 year period from 1998 to 2012, there have been no fatalities or serious injuries out of 32 speed-related crashes – 25 of which were non-injury crashes.
In another advancement, Mr Stables says the new camera can measure vehicles travelling at different speeds in individual lanes, in either direction, all at the push of a button. More efficient infrared flash technology also means the camera can operate equally well at night, but drivers exceeding the speed limit will not see a visible flash.
“Motorists who travel at the legally posted speed limit won’t notice any difference. However, those who speed and put other motorists at risk can expect to be ticketed.”
Other camera sites using digital technology will be implemented into the future, at locations where there are speed related crash risks and evaluation indicates that this is an effective solution for those sites, says Mr Stables.
“As with Ngauranga Gorge, there is strong evidence that both fixed and mobile speed cameras are effective tools in encouraging drivers to travel at safer speeds, and reduce road trauma.”
All infringements paid go into the Government’s consolidated fund and not to Police.
“It would be fantastic if we never had to issue another speeding infringement, as it would mean everyone was driving within the legally posted speed limit and the number of deaths and injuries on our roads would plummet.”
The police currently operate a network of 57 speed cameras (12 fixed and 45 mobile), and are undertaking a tender and procurement process to expand and upgrade the ageing fixed cameras.
Information gained from the operationalisation of the new speed camera at Ngauranga Gorge will help to guide the tender process and subsequent provider relationship for the expansion programme.