Hi-tech speed cameras tipped for Hamilton

MATT BOWEN
Last updated 05:00 05/08/2014

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Hamilton drivers are expected to be in the sights of new-generation speed cameras being rolled out across the country.

Wellington and Auckland will be first to get new fixed speed cameras at sites with the highest risk of speed-related crashes, but the Waikato Times understands Hamilton will get its share.

The $10-million project will see 56 digital cameras across the country by the end of next year. The new technology is expected to be installed in existing camera sites in the city and in two extra locations.

The Waikato road policing manager, Inspector Freda Grace, said police had a single fixed camera operating in the region and multiple sites to choose from. But she could not comment on the prospect of the latest technology coming to Hamilton and referred the Waikato Times to national headquarters in Wellington.

However, senior media adviser Mere Wilson Tuala-Fata said no final decisions had been made.

The initial rollout in Auckland and Wellington was a milestone after police announced plans last July to modernise and expand the fixed speed camera network. The network is almost 20 years old and uses outdated wet-film technology.

The first camera was installed in the Ngauranga Gorge in June and had a month of calibration before going live on July 14.

The first site was chosen because of its complexity - six lanes of traffic going up and down hill.

Each stage of the process was tested: taking photos, adjusting image quality, downloading data and processing.

The camera was taking images that clearly identified speeding vehicles in all six lanes in different light and weather conditions.

Work was also progressing in the development of a secure network that wirelessly transmits encrypted data to a central point.

The complete network is expected to operate wirelessly by April 2016.

Assistant road policing commissioner Dave Cliff said the development aimed to save lives and prevent serious injuries on the roads, particularly in places where evidence showed there was a high risk of speed-related crashes.

NZ Transport Agency road safety director Ernst Zollner said it was aiming to lower the road toll by making every part of our transport system safer - vehicles, roads and roadsides, speeds and road users.

Police said they would publish the locations for the remaining cameras as soon as they were confirmed and community consultation and engineering assessments had been carried out.

Cliff said camera placement would be an open process, with sites selected solely on robust scientific evidence.

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"Police do not receive any money collected from speeding fines, which goes to government funds," he said.

"However, any fine issued is nothing when compared with the devastating social, human and economic cost of a crash to our communities."

There are about 140 sites around the country identified as having a high risk of speed-related crashes. matt.bowen@fairfaxmedia.co.nz

- Waikato Times

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