Transport for London (TfL) has begun work on a programme to overhaul the capital's road safety camera network, replacing hundreds of old 'wet film' cameras with modern and more efficient digital safety cameras in order to help further reduce casualties on London's roads.
Safety cameras have proved successful in reducing road casualties in recent years. At locations where safety cameras operate in the capital, research shows that the number of people killed or seriously injured (KSI) fell by an average of 58 per cent, meaning that the cameras help to prevent 500 deaths or serious injuries each year. During 2013, 29 of the 132 fatal collisions that occurred in London involved speeding as a contributory factor. Last year, the police commenced prosecution against 120,000 drivers for speeding and red light offences in the capital, with all fines generated passed on to Central Government.
The wet film camera technology used in most of the existing safety camera network is largely obsolete, making long term operation no longer possible. Earlier this year TfL began work to upgrade all safety cameras in London from wet film to digital, making the capital's safety cameras more sustainable in the longer term. As the Department for Transport (DfT) no longer fund safety camera schemes across the UK, TfL is funding the upgrades of these cameras to ensure that London continues to be at the forefront of innovative road safety measures.
TfL and the Metropolitan Police have now replaced and commissioned the first 28 of 250 red light cameras at traffic signal junctions across London. In addition to enforcing against "red light running", these new cameras can also monitor and enforce against vehicles breaking the speed limit while going through green traffic lights, helping to further improve safety at junctions where the risk is higher. Further sites will be commissioned in the coming months, with all 250 upgraded by October 2016.
Next Month, TfL will also begin upgrading the capital's 350 speed cameras with spot speed digital cameras. When located on the central reservation, these new cameras can also monitor speed in both directions, providing a wider area of enforcement for the Police. In addition, at four trial locations on the TfL Road Network, TfL will be replacing older cameras with an Average Speed Camera system, similar to the one already in operation along the A13. Average Speed Cameras improve speed compliance between cameras along a more extensive length of road rather than just where the camera is located, helping to further reduce KSIs. Work to install these will begin later this year, with the systems beginning enforcement in 2015. Work to upgrade the existing speed camera network to digital cameras will be completed by October 2016.
One of TfL's top priorities is to reduce the number of people killed or seriously injured on London's roads, with a target of a 40 per cent reduction by 2020. Recently, the Mayor and TfL published six commitments which, working with a range of partners, are guiding initiatives to deliver this. In particular, action is being taken to prioritise the safety of the most vulnerable road users: pedestrians, cyclists and motorcyclists.
Ben Plowden, Director of Strategy and Planning at TfL, said:
'Ensuring that all road users are acting responsibly is vitally important to ensure that the capital's roads are kept safe for all. We are committed to delivering a 40 per cent reduction in the number of people killed or seriously injured on the capital's roads by 2020.
"We've worked closely with the London boroughs and police on implementing this important upgrade and, by ensuring that our safety cameras have the latest digital technology, we can help further reduce the number of unnecessary speed-related collisions that occur each year.'
Edmund King, AA President, said:
'Modern well-signed cameras targeted at accident hotspots are an important road safety tool aimed at helping make roads safer. In a recent AA Populus poll, 79 per cent of AA members considered speed cameras at the road side to be acceptable. London needs safe roads to help the capital function for all road-users whether they are on foot, two wheels or four.'
Cllr Stuart McNamara, Haringey Council's cabinet member for environment, said:
'The safety of our borough's roads is a priority for Haringey Council and we are pleased that TfL is taking these steps to ensure that a busy junction is safer for all road users. "The installation of these more efficient and modern cameras, which will help to reduce dangerous driving such as speeding and jumping red lights, will add to our efforts to improve road safety across the borough.'
The upgrade of safety cameras across London is part of TfL's continuing work to improve road safety for all road users. Earlier this year, the Mayor and TfL published London's first Pedestrian Safety Action Plan and Motorcycle Safety Action Plan and its Delivery Plan for Young People, which included a commitment to provide cycle training to all school children in London. In June 2014, TfL also published the revised draft Cycle Safety Action Plan and a fully updated draft London Cycling Design Standards, which inform the work of those designing cycling infrastructure in the capital, for public comment to help further transform London's streets with world leading cycling provision.
For more information about the work TfL is carrying out to improve road safety, please visit www.tfl.gov.uk/roadsafety
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