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Speed Camera Guide and what to look out for on UK roads.

Our Speed Camera Guide gives information on the different types of speed cameras and speed trap devices currently being used throughout the UK by Police. Use the summaries below to select more in depth information relating to a specific speed detecting device.

Gatso Meter Speed Cameras
By far the most popular choice for police forces and local authorities across the UK...more

Traffic Light Cameras
Gatsometer BV manufacture the UK's Red Light Camera's (named Gatso RLC 36)... more

Truvelo Speed Cameras
Forward facing Truvelo camera system is designed to take photographs of the front of a passing vehicle... more

DS2
Static induction loop "in the road" systems where a van with camera will plug into the grey post near the loop and record your speed... more

Peek Traffic Speed Cameras
Peek Traffic B.V., founded in 1990 and based in the Netherlands. Manufacture a range of speed detecting cameras... more

SPECS System
Speed Violation Detection Deterrent, SVDD is the digital brain which the SPECS system is based upon... more

TSS System
The Autovision 3 (AV3) or Speedmaster DS3, manufactured by Traffic Safety Systems Ltd.
This system uses... more

Mobile & Handheld Devices
Mobile and hand devices in use in the UK are very similar if not the same to that of the equipment within... more

Traffic Master
Often mistaken for a form of speed camera, the Traffic Master system takes the form of blue camera like devices... more

ANPR Mobile
Often mistaken for a mobile speed camera van and in the main seen on bridges and are incorporated into many police cars now as a standard feature.... more

Watchman
A rear facing device which combines 2 cameras within it, one for speed monitoring and one for ANPR ( Auto numberplate recognition ) and not very common in the UK. It is similar to the Gatso but.... more

Speedcurb
Speedcurb cameras are again not very common in the UK Speedcurb speed cameras are often used to monitor traffic light offences as well as speeding offences... more


SpeedSpike NEW
Currently being tested on UK roads ( A374 in Cornwall for example ) these new hi tech devices communicte with each other via satellite and encompass Numberplate Recognition .... more



Gatso Meter Speed Cameras

By far the most popular choice for police forces and local authorities across the UK. The Gatsometer BV company which originates from the Netherlands, was founded in 1959 by Maurice Gastonides, a famous rally driver and winner of the Monte Carlo Rally in 1953.

The Gatso speed camera uses radar technology (radar type 24), the equipment can be used in a stationary position, in a car, in a trailer on a tripod or from a moving vehicle. Fixed installation post (F.I.P) Gatso speed cameras are rear facing as they use a 'flash' to capture the image required for prosecution, which would distract a driver if forward facing.

The images are stored on a standard 35mm 'wet film', which needs to be changed and processed. With each film reel only having the ability to take 400 pictures before needing to be changed, cameras in busy places or where speeding offences occur more often can only last a few hours before needing to change the film.

Some Gatso's can also tell the difference between a car and HGV, so if for instance the limit was 60 mph for cars and for HGV's it was 40 mph, if HGV's pass the threshold of approx 45-50mph the camera would be triggered.

Gatso speed cameras need to calibrated and only record traffic in one lane at a time. Some Police authorities have placed cameras which can be turned around to face different traffic flows from one week to the next.

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Traffic Light Cameras
Gatsometer BV, manufacturer of the UK's Red Light Cameras, (named Gatso RLC 36) has been producing RLC's since 1966.

The RLC system is triggered by sensors or ground loops that are cut into road surface as a vehicle passes over them, while a red light is shown. Look out for them in the road, just ahead of the white stop line at Traffic Lights. Simply rolling over the induction loop in the road can trigger the camera so no creeping forward while the light is on stop.

The Red Light Camera was originally used to measure red light offences. Nowadays the RLC can also be used in combination with speed measurement, similar to that of a Gatso Meter rear facing speed camera (radar type 24 technology) and can therefore also record the speed of the offending motorist as well. So you could end with a speeding offence as well as a traffic light offence, if you go through a red light camera!
 

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Truvelo Speed Cameras
The forward facing Truvelo camera system is designed to take photographs of the front of a passing vehicle. This allows the picture taken to show the driver of the vehicle as well. In countries such as Switzerland, Germany and the Scandinavian countries driver recognition is a required factor to enable a successful prosecution of a speed or red light offence.


A single front photograph, taken just after the vehicle has crossed the piezo sensors used for speed measurement, includes all the secondary check information required.

To avoid the 'flash' which is given out by a rear facing Gatso camera the Truvelo system uses an infra red flash which produces no visible 'flash' to the approaching driver.

Pictured above;
a forward facing Truvelo speed camera, sometimes referred to as a 'pink eye'.

These are becoming increasingly more used, especially with recent cases where the registered owner of a vehicle has disputed that he/she was not driving the vehicle at the time of the speeding offence. This system offers evidence as to the identity of the driver at the time of the offence.

 

DS2

Rubber strips in the road calculate your speed as you pass over them via the small telltale grey post which sits along side. The DS2 system requires a mobile camera usually in a van to plug into this grey post inorder to photograph you. They cant calculate your speed without the van plugging the camera in the post so watch for it nearby. Difficult to spot if you are not using a GPS Speed Camera Warning System. Cant capture your speed unless the van with camera is plugged into the grey post. Sometimes the strips in the road are only on one side of the road.

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PEEK Traffic Speed Cameras
Peek Traffic B.V., founded in 1990 and based in the Netherlands. Manufacture a range of speed detecting cameras, using either loops within the roads surface or radar. The most popular in the UK is similar in design to a rear facing Gasto using a normal double-flash. PEEK Traffic cameras within the United Kingdom are in minority use compared with the Gasto Meter.
 

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SPECS System
Speed Violation Detection Deterrent, SVDD is the digital brain which the SPECS system is based upon, it uses state of the art video system with Automatic Number Plate Reading (ANPR) digital technology. Consisting of two video cameras each fitted with infra red illuminators, giving the ability to work 24hrs 7days a week.

SPECS are fitted either at the roadside or central reservation a set distance apart to create a speed controlled zone, or where appropriate, groups of cameras can be linked to create a speed controlled network. Mounted to a single or doubled armed distinctive blue SPECS column, they are linked together via computer.

As vehicles pass between the entry and exit camera points their number plates are digitally recorded, whether speeding or not. Then, by ANPR recognition, the images on the video of matching number plates are paired up, and because each image carries a date and time stamp, the computer can then work out your average speed between the cameras, and then will make a decision if the preset speed threshold is triggered. This data is then digitally stored on a central computer, so that there is no need for film to be collected and changed at the cameras site.

Pictured above; a SPECS system sited on one side of the road, used to enforce speed in both directions.

There were rumours last year on the internet that the SPECS system was flawed and could be fooled by simply changing lanes but as of today this is unproven.

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TSS System
The Autovision 3 (AV3) or Speedmaster DS3, manufactured by Traffic Safety Systems Ltd. This system uses less visible physical infrastructure than a Gatso, Truvelo or SPECS system, the speed detection equipment relies on three piezo sensors installed in the road surface and then terminated to a vandal-protected heavy duty roadside post. The camera teams then visit such sites frequently but on an unpredictable and random pattern.

A camera is plugged into the roadside sensor set-up to allow offenders to be recorded. Speed camera signing reinforces such sites. This system is generally best for tackling longer lengths of road.


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Mobile & Handheld Devices
Police Constabularies across the country use a variety of mobile and hand devices to catch speeding motorists. These
systems include; Mini-Gatso, TSS system (see above) and Teletraffic (laser guns). Mini-Gatso, the technology used in a Mini-Gatso unit is very similar to that used within a fixed position Gatso speed camera, using radar type 24 (see above). Teletraffic, police camera teams use this as a vehicle based system which can be set up to detect speeding traffic from a distance of 1000 metres using laser technology. The device is aimed on a vehicle number plate and which is then recorded on video film with the associated speed. This system is generally best for tackling lengths of road, and may be used outside of signed locations.

Most counties across the UK have a 'Speeding Campaign' of some form. Many Police Constabularies and local authorities have routes where they regularly patrol and carry out speed checks. Areas of N Wales for instance in North Wales has a campaign called 'Arrive Alive', the campaign is fairly high profile
.

Alternative Techniques
The Police can also sometimes use alternative techniques where mobile cameras are concirned, from using Helicopters which track mainly Speeding Motorcycles from the air, to laser gun operators hiding in Horse Boxes ( shown left in N Wales ) to speed cameras in wheelie bins and even unmarked vehicles which can follow a speeding vehicle for a measured distance to record on video for evidence to be used in a later prosecution.

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Traffic Master
Often mistaken for a form of speed camera, the Traffic Master system takes the form of blue camera like devices normally either situated on a blue pole by the road side or fixed to a bridge across all lanes of traffic.

The purpose of the Traffic Master system is to feed traffic information back to the control centre to highlight slow moving traffic (i.e. traffic jams), and then to relay this information to its customers via various multimedia products. visit http://www.trafficmaster.co.uk/ for more information.
 

ANPR ( Auto Number Plate Recognition )
ANPR devices work by scanning vehicle registrations and checking them against information stored in databases including the Police National Computer and the DVLA, to identify vehicles of interest to the police, such as stolen cars or those involved in crimes. When a suspicious vehicle is recognised it can be the focus of targeted interception and enquires. They do not monitor vehicle speed and normally work in conjunction with several police cars ahead of the camera who will pull in offending vehicles...more


Watchman Speed Camera

Watchman speed cameras are rear facing devices which combine 2 cameras within it, one for speed monitoring and one for ANPR ( Auto numberplate recognition ) and not very common in the UK.

It is similar to the Gatso and uses radar tecnlology to detect speeding motorists. Unlike the Gatso though a Watchman camera calculates your speed as you approach as it has "rear facing eyes" so just slowing through the normal "Gatso Style Zone" wont save you as you. The data is stored digitally and transmitted wire free.


Speedcurb Speed Camera
Speedcurb cameras are again not very common in the UK Speedcurb speed cameras are often used to monitor traffic light offences as well as speeding offences. They are rear facing cameras and like both DS2 and Truvelo speed cameras, they use piezo sensors embedded in the road or magnetic stripes.

Fixed Speedcurb speed cameras are rear facing and do flash when active. They have started to appear on Motorway Roadwork Temporary speed restrictions as they are much cheaper to install than SPECS and able to store many more photographs than a conventional GATSO.

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SpeekSpike
SpeedSpike (new)
Currently in test on certain roads in the UK, these new type of cameras communicate with each other via the GPS Satellite Network and can track a vehicle using Numerplate Recognition (ANPR) to check if it has broken the speed limit during the journey, be it short or long.

Known as SpeedSpike, the system uses similar methods of recognition as the cameras which enforce the congestion charge in London, and allow two cameras to 'talk' to each other if a vehicle appears to have travelled too far in too short a space of time. The system is much cheaper to install than the existing SPECS cameras so if the test goes well they could become popular on UK roads....more

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