Speed cameras explained

Speed cameras explained
Speed cameras explained

There are eight types of speed camera, and here they are

We all love to hate speed cameras, and we all tend to think they’re all called a Gatso. Not so. Cameras that we see – sometimes at the last second – do a variety of tasks, not all of them to do with catching people speeding. Some are real, some are dummies and some make a lot of money. Here they are, in all their glory.


Sometimes these are real, sometimes they are dummies, even capable of flashing as a warning to speeding motorists. The camera faces where you are going and so takes a rear numberplate image after you have passed. Two sets of lines on the road, at specific intervals, help calculate the vehicle’s speed from the two images taken, split seconds apart.


This is a camera that faces rearward and so gets your rear number plate when you speed. Sensors in the road calculate the speed, while marks on the road provide further confirmation. The camera takes three shots, even if you’re going very fast, with one shot of the number plate and two of you speeding across the image area. No point in smiling for the camera as it won’t catch your expression.


Unlike a Gatso, the Truvelo normally faces towards the oncoming traffic but, when bored, it can be turned to catch rear numberplates as an option. Four pairs of sensors in the road work out the speed of the approaching vehicle, and if it’s too high then the camera takes a photo as the vehicle crosses the second of three lines on the road. But, since it can take a photo of your face and body, the photo won’t be released to the driver without their consent. What were you doing at that precise moment, and with whom?


This is the system used to monitor bus lanes, traffic lights and more, and is also an average speed camera system which can work in two directions using ANPR (Automatic Number Plate Recognition). It still works with vehicles moving at very high speeds, or in bad weather. It can work on two lanes, even if they’re going in opposite directions so they’ve literally got you coming and going.


You will have seen these often on motorways or where there are average speed zones. This system has Automatic Number Plate Recognition (ANPR) to record passing cars. Multiple cameras along the route then record your progress over a set distance and can easily calculate your average speed over that distance – often a set of long-term roadworks or similar. The photos taken are in colour and infrared, and can lead to a Notice of Intended Prosecution dropping through your door. Obviously, speeding then slowing down when you get to the cameras is a surefire way of getting one of these notices, and switching lanes isn’t likely to work either as the cameras can overlap.


This camera can do a lot, being capable of monitoring speeding traffic as well as those jumping red lights – although it doesn’t catch cyclists doing that all the time. When used at traffic lights, it works with sensors buried in the road. Three lines painted on the road after the stop are visual proof, and the front wheels of the offending vehicle will be within those lines when the camera fires. It can store up to 100,000 images or it can beam them right back to the control centre.


It may not be huge but this camera can work across four lanes. It’s designed to catch those jumping red lights, and works off either radar or sensors in the road. When the car has jumped the light the camera takes three photos, each one covering either numberplate, the bigger picture or just the car in motion.


HADECS 2 sits on a gantry above a lane and monitors that lane to enforce variable speed limits. It’s not easy to see is it? It takes three photos of each incident, one of which is a close up of the number plate, while the other two are looked at by enforcement staff to check speed based on marks on the road. HADECS 3 can cover not one but five lanes.

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