At the end of a week in which councils across England have been under scrutiny after speed cameras were turned off following the government’s cut to the Road Safety Grant, it has been revealed that Transport for London (TfL) has bucked the trend by issuing a tender for average speed cameras that it intends to deploy in the capital.
Earlier this week, we reported that the number of drivers speeding at two locations within Oxfordshire had increased after the county council turned off speed cameras throughout the county at the end of July, while in Swindon, there was little change in accident patterns nine months after cameras were turned off there.
According to a notice published earlier this week in the Official Journal of the European Union, TfL is considering inviting tenders cameras that will be used to "enforce average speed limits in urban areas," reports the website Kable, owned by Guardian Media Group.
A spokeswoman for TfL told Kable’s sister publication GC News (the initials stand for Government Computing) that the notice is related to a pre-qualification questionnaire (PQQ), with no definite plans to move ahead with the proposals, saying “We are just looking to see who will apply at the moment."
She added that the PQQ is related to work currently being carried out with four borough councils in London, and hinted that further announcements on these initiatives might be made “post October".
In the notice, TfL says that it expects just one organisation to be involved in any eventual contract, with an initial two-year trial period potentially being extended, depending on results, resulting in "a requirement for further systems across London".
According to the TfL spokeswoman, "We believe that speed cameras reduce the number of accidents on roads and save us money. For instance, cameras can be used as an alternative to road humps.”
Kable added that the notice was published three days after TfL had cancelled a separate tender for software designed to predict traffic flow as a result of budgetary cuts within the organisation.
Earlier this year, the Evening Standard reported that 84 average speed cameras, which monitor the time a vehicle takes between two separate points on a road, allowing its average speed to be calculated, had been installed on the A13 between Canning Town and the Goresbrook Interchange.
That stretch of the A13 now incorporates a section of one of the first two Barclays Cycle Superhighways launched in London last month, which follows the arterial route for most of the way from Barking to Tower Gateway.
At the time, Ben Plowden, Director of Integrated Programmes at TfL, told the newspaper: “Traditional safety cameras are very effective at reducing the numbers of people killed or seriously injured on London's roads.
"However, roads such as this 12km stretch of the A13, which has a high level of speed-related collisions, have huge potential to benefit from the new average speed camera systems.”
An AA spokesman said that the A13 cameras might at first appear to motorists as being a “bit like Big Brother”, but said: “It is good to give this kind of technology a go to see what we can learn from it, especially if there are safety gains.”
Born in Scotland, Simon moved to London aged seven and now lives in the Oxfordshire Cotswolds with his miniature schnauzer, Elodie. He fell in love with cycling one Saturday morning in 1994 while living in Italy when Milan-San Remo went past his front door. A daily cycle commuter in London back before riding to work started to boom, he's been news editor at road.cc since 2009. Handily for work, he speaks French and Italian. He doesn't get to ride his Colnago as often as he'd like, and freely admits he's much more adept at cooking than fettling with bikes.