28/02/19 Different types of speed cameras used in the UK

There are 15 different types of speed cameras in the UK. The most recent introduction to our roads being the ‘Long Ranger’, which is a camera that can measure speeds from a greater distance than the previous cameras. Gloucestershire Police have used the new Long-Range camera since November last year and have demonstrated that the camera can measure speeds from up to 1km away. This makes it the camera with the longest distance measurements currently in use – and is one of the cameras now use on smart motorways which can see “middle-lane hoggers”, un-worn seatbelts and drivers using their phones behind the wheel.

The camera that most of us will recognise is called the Digital Gatso, this is the original speed camera. These rear facing cameras were grey from 1992 until 2001 when the law was changed so that speed cameras have to be easily visible. The technology from these cameras is becoming old compared to newer cameras as the Gatso still uses film. Modern digital cameras often take two photos and, when they are rear facing they can catch motorcyclists a lot easier too.

The second most common type of speed camera is called the Truvelo Combi camera. This is similar to the Gatso as it is rear facing but they don’t capture the image of the driver of the car - so potentially the speeding ticket can be disputed by the driver. However, the owner of the vehicle can face a large fine if they refuse to confirm who was driving the vehicle.

There is a forward facing Truvelo that helps eliminate this issue and is becoming the most popular speed camera on UK roads, and unlike the Gatso this camera doesn’t have a flash. It doesn’t need a flash as it uses infra-red technology to produce a clear image. The Truvelo also uses four sensors that are placed in the road surface to accurately calculate the speed of the drivers as they pass the camera.

Truvelo offer another type of speed camera too, they are called the ‘D-Cam’. This is short for Digital Camera and uses the same technology as the Truvelo Combi but can be placed in a forward or rear facing position. They can be used to replace both Truvelo and Gatso type cameras. The ‘D-Cam’ can also measure up to 3 lanes of traffic and the photos taken are sent in real time to police forces and operators.

Another type of camera used is the motorway speed camera. The most common type called HADECS3 (Highway Agency Digital Enforcement Camera Systems) which shows the biggest transformation in the technology used in speed cameras. These are the cameras that are used on smart motorways like the M25, M1 and the M6. They are known for being difficult to spot because they are placed high above the road, can read up to 5 lanes of traffic, measure positions, lanes and provide vehicle identification data.

Another brand of average speed camera is called SPECS. This clever technology recognises number plates and can track drivers between at least two cameras on motorways, dual carriageways and roads. These cameras run on infra-red system similar to Truvelo Cameras and can calculate the average speed over a set distance, which can be anything between 75 meters to 20 kilometres. As well as the SPECS cameras there are VECTOR average speed cameras, these cameras are used for not only speed offences but also offences involving bus lanes, traffic lights, box junctions and congestion zones.

Siemens produce an average speed camera used mainly in towns, cities and villages. These cameras are used outside schools or in areas where low speed management can be very important and can be attached to street furniture like street lamps, bridges. Two cameras are often used to capture both directions of traffic.

The final type of average speed camera is called the SpeedSpike. This is another new type of camera on UK roads which uses ANPR (Automatic Number Plate Recognition). ANPR lets the camera identify the car from an online database. The SpeedSpike sits in the central reservation and can detect the speeding motorists going in both directions.

Another older type of speed camera is the Peek speed camera.These are similar to the Gatso, in that they are solely rear facing cameras, but they rely on radar technology.

The tallest mounted speed cameras on the roads are called SpeedCurb cameras. They don’t just look for speeding offences, they can detect traffic light offences too. Like the Gatso and Truvelo they are rear facing, but use radar along with other sensors to catch offenders. These cameras take three photos to increase the likelihood of a successful prosecution. The first two photos are wide angled photos of the vehicle and the third is a magnified image of the number plate.

There are also cameras built into some traffic lights. These don’t catch you speeding, but they can detect if you commit a traffic light violation.

REDFLEX cameras are another brand new type of camera like the Long Range cameras. These are not yet on our roads, however they have been approved by the Home Office and are likely to be soon. There are both speeding REDFLEX cameras and traffic light cameras which can produce high resolution and high speed colour images. These enable the capture of multiple offending vehicles at junctions, so useful for the police, but not so useful for road users!

The mobile cameras complete the final two types of cameras that are on our roads.Usually hidden inside a police vehicle parked at the side of the road, the cameras are like 'mini' Gatso’s with radar and laser sensors. There is also another type of camera that the traffic police use called the DS2. These are used at sites where there are white lines on the road so they can measure the distance between the lines. These cameras can be left unmanned and can capture the speeds without traffic police having to be there.

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All content is believed to be accurate at the time of publication.

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