back to article plans more active-traffic motorway ANPR cams

Things are jumping in the world of UK roadside cameras. In the last 24 hours the main contract for the London congestion charging zone has been won by IBM, edging out former provider Capita, and the government has announced plans for many more speed cameras on motorways - to be used in "active management" of heavy traffic. …


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  1. Tony Carter-Inman

    Lying all the time...

    So for years, when people have complained about data protection and privacy, we have been 'reassured' that the cameras are absolved of this act/law because they don't record the whole number plate, but just pass it to the next camera in the pair to calculate the speed, where the data is either dumped or recorded when an offence occurs.

    Now we find out the truth, that this system has been tracking our moves all the time, and do they really think we'll believe them when they say they will only use it during heavy peak-time traffic - hell no, it'll be on all the time!

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  3. The Other Steve

    "most economically advantageous" ??

    TfL could have phrased that better, cue massed whining about "stealth" taxes.

    In fact, I bet by the time this is mod'd, there's at least two.

    Hint : If they tell you about it, it's not really stealthy, now is it ?

    I hate ANPR as much as the next rabid libertarian / habitual criminal, but you all know the way to avoid it is to stock up and steak 'n' kidney and get your two wheeled, pie powered, personal transport out of the shed.

    Don't forget to oil it, and watch those braking distances in the wet.

  4. Alan Smith

    Loss leader my ass.

    IBM will do what they usually do. Under bid, and the cut staff numbers, while forcing those left behind to work longer than contracted hours in order to make a profit or break even.

  5. Funkster
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    More revenue collection from bogus 'congestion'

    Living quite close to the ANPR-equipped stretch of the M42, I have often noticed low speed limits even when the road is almost totally clear - at night, with no roadworks or accidents, and mostly only one lane being used. I have also seen speed limits being changed and turned on and off as I watched them, without the signs on either side following suit.

    It's pretty clear that they are just trying to trick drivers into breaking 'laws' by confusing them, on a road where it would be perfectly safe to continue at the legal limit. I've heard tell that this happens on the M25 also, but I long ago gave up driving around that particular ring road.

    Collection of number plate movement also sucks - do they really think that anyone that they *really* want to track will have their own plates on? Or even plates at all for that matter - with the total lack of real traffic police on the roads (evidenced by how many vehicles have one or more lights out) they probably won't get spotted at all.


  6. Paul Banacks


    ... Yet more intrusive surveillence technology force upon us by looking only at the wonderful benefits it will bring us without a moments thought for what it could be used for.

    Bring on the revoltion. We need to get these Noo-Laybur tyrants out.

  7. Peter


    All the people who tailgate and undertake on the M25 will probably block the camera's getting a good shot of peoples numberplates anyway.

  8. Anonymous Coward
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    The few times I've driven on the M42 in the last year ahave all been on the weekend when traffic wasn't too heavy.

    The speed signs though were changing up and down all over the place, there wasn't engouh traffic to seem to make altering them sense.

    Made it hard to keep to the limit, plus I don't think making people slow down then accelerate as the limits change from sign to sign is very safe or very eco-friendly.

    Certainly I was left feeling they had slowed my journey not improved it.

    As for sudden slowing down causing jams, have they thought about lorries trying to over take each other over a 5 mile strectch and the impact that has on the jams?

    Still as long as the govenment can collect more revenue and the police have more powers there's no doubt it will go ahead. Makes me glad to be leaving the country.

  9. J.Butler

    Help the absent minded

    They can simply do a FOI request everyday to see where they've been.

    For eveyone else... oops....

  10. RichardB

    distance between cars

    is surely the key to preventing the stop start scenario. It has been demonstrated that by leaving a larger gap you can slow down more gently.

    Watch the pratts in their golfs (golves?) driving a yard behind the next car at 95 in the 'fast lane'. Front car blips his brakes, the next one applies the brakes quite firmly - by the end of 6 or 7 cars the last few are stamping on the brake and slowing dramatically.

    Surely what we really need is a camera to enforce a decent gap?

  11. Oli

    The other camera network?

    They forget to mention they have also setup a vehicle tracking network completely seperate of the congestion charging system in london. I live in east london and when i drive to south london via the blackwall tunnell i am captured on no less than 10 seperate cameras, all of which have been setup as part of the extended live vehicle tracking network for the spooks to use. There was an article on here about it somewhere.

    Why are we being watched so much now? Why does the government need a database of where im sleeping tonight?

  12. Marc Savage
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    Don['t get me started on lorries doing their stupid dance.

    if i am feeling vindictive I sit in the middle lane and take the place of one of the lorries. they get really really pissed off.

  13. Julian Bond

    side effects

    If they increase relatively passive enforcement there's an obvious side effect which has already been seen in the congestion charging zone. A substantial number of people start to use fake or cloned number plates. Often this is linked to having no MOT, insurance or tax either. This leads to two more problems. The only people getting caught are the ones that are relatively law abiding. And the second is that the general standard of driving falls because the people with the 5th hand BMW with faked plates and no insurance really don't care.

  14. John Munyard

    IBM steps in

    Scope creep. Don't you just love it?

    We're all destined to be tagged, monitored, controlled, charged and administered whether we like it or not. It would be cheaper to just tattoo a serial number on everybody's arms, but then that would be too much like Naziism wouldn't it?

  15. David

    Speed limits

    I drive the M25 a lot (if that isn`t a contradiction in terms!) and I absolutely loath the variable speed limits imposed on the stretch from the A3 to round about the M40. In my opinion, they serve no useful purpose, other than to bunch all the traffic up in one place and forcing them down to a snail`s pace. How this can be judged a success is completely beyond my comprehension and I`ve yet to find anyone who disagrees with me. It would be nice if, at peak times, traffic was actually able to go at the 40 m.p.h. shown on the signs but, as anyone knows who goes anti-clockwise at around 5.0.p.m. (especially on a Friday!) quite often it would be quicker to get out the car and walk. The extra, recently-built lane seems to have made little or no difference and I dread to think what the situation will be like when Heathrow Terminal 5 opens its doors for business.

    Speaking of Heathrow, I recall one infamous Saturday morning trip I made there. Normally not a problem at the weekend. Expected travelling time from my base - around 1 hour, 15 mins. Instead, it took just over 2 hours, 30 mins! All the advisory matrix signs were on 40 m.p.h. and the compulsory signs were the same. The combined result - total gridlock virtually all the way. There were no accidents - the only "hazard" being pouring rain, so I can only assume that some kindly soul in a control-room somewhere saw fit to try and slow everything down and that he certainly did. It also took me the best part of 2 hours to travel the 70-odd miles back home after spending a fruitless 2 hours at the airport, because my passengers didn`t turn up (but that, as they say, is another story!). Needless to say, I was not best pleased and rattled off an e-mail to the Ministry of Transport, thoroughly castigating them, and suggesting that they seem to have completely lost sight of the fact that motorways were, in fact, originally supposed to have been designed with the idea of carrying high-speed traffic to decrease journey times and the idea of speed-limits does rather seem to negate that theory. Needless to say, the answer (which came from the leader of the team responsible for that stretch of motorway - wow!) was far from satisfactory, obviously consisting, more-or-less, of a copy and paste of the specification of the system that runs the limits signs, apparently triggered by sensors placed in the carriageway every couple of hundred metres and how marvellously it all worked! This was some time ago and their final paragraph went something like: "There are many far-reaching schemes being discussed to ease the traffic flow on the M25, including extending the variable speed limits all the way round". It looks like something similar is now coming to fruition. I cannot believe that someone, somewhere up there in their tower of power, wants to downgrade the motorways in this fashion. Surely the whole idea is to get the traffic moving - not to impose draconian speed limits enforced by the dreaded cameras, which, as most people suspect, are purely an instrument of revenue, anyway, despite all the denials and the grand term "safety cameras". All I can say (in true taxi driver fashion) is "Gawd `elp us guv`nor!"

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  17. Michael Rawlinson

    Motorway traffic congestion

    Most of the congestion on motorways is actually caused by heavy lorries. A trip down the M1 usually means a drive on a two lane road with the third lane full of heavy lorries driving with their cruise controls set. When one lorry approaches another with a closing speed of about half a mile per hour he pulls out to overtake, still at half a mile per hour, and reduces the mtorway around him to one lane for anything up to five minutes. Politicians, of course, like to blame the car for the problems because the road haulage lobby is rich and powerful and they don't want to upset them. Surely the real solution to congestion, pollution etc is to force the road hauliers to invest in rail freight and give all three lanes back to passenger vehicles and vans of a size suitable for local delivery.

  18. David


    Re. my previous post and the one from Michael Rawlinson, I believe that lorries (or "trucks" - for our friends across the pond!) should be confined to lane one on all motorways, especially small, two-lane ones, such as the M26 in Kent, which, of necessity, I also have to use a lot, following on from the dreaded M25 on the way back to my home territory, thence on to the M20. Being called a "motorway" is a bit of a joke, it having only two lanes, no lighting and no information gantry signs. Most lorries (usually foreigners) are nothing but a menace on this stretch, especially coast-bound, as there is a very long, deceiving, upward slope and, almost invariably at some point, one lorry will suddenly pull out to try to overtake another with a speed differential of about 5 m.p.h; (even though it must be perfectly obvious that there are faster vehicles coming up from the rear in the one-and-only outside lane) with the slower vehicle probably initially only doing about 45 - 50 m.p.h. and this obviously instantly blocks both lanes for faster-moving traffic. Both lorries usually start to run out of steam as they negotiate the slope, and eventually end up running parallel with each other at a comparatively low speed with neither driver apparently wanting to give up their little contest and a queue of irate car drivers dawdling along behind. They might just as well stay in lane one, in convoy, and not inconvenience other road users. It smacks, to me, for the most part, of just shear bloody-mindedness.

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