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New SPECs Speed Cameras on the A127 in Essex

Date 11th December 2008

Last week I went away for a late summer holiday and returned home to find that a number of new SPECs average speed cameras had been erected in my absence close to my house. I had to spend the afternoon collecting the speed camera locations to make sure it made the PocketGPSWorld.com Speed Camera Database release later that day.

 

The A127 is just a few hundred yards from where I live and judging by the number of cameras on the stretch of road between the A130 and the intersection with Victoria Avenue you would have thought it was the most dangerous and accident prone road in the world. There are no less than 20 fixed cameras on the A127 in 7 miles.

 

These new SPECs Speed Cameras cover a section of the road from just before the A130 junction on the A127 up to the border of Southend where the existing Gatsos take over.

 

This stretch of the road is currently 70MPH but after everyone is used to the cameras they will be dropping the limit down to 50MPH. Strange that they didn't set the 50MPH Limit first and then install the cameras...

 

Michael Page, a spokesman for Essex County Council, was quoted in the local paper as saying:

 

The introduction of average speed cameras on the A127 is a very positive move...

 

It will help to reduce the number of accidents and alleviate congestion during peak times.

 

I find this statement quite amazing, and totally untrue. Although I don't travel the roads every day I am not aware that the A127 is a particularly dangerous stretch of road. There have been a few accidents over the 20 year period that I have lived in the area, most seem to have been caused by adverse weather conditions though rather than speeding above 70mph.

 

To claim that the cameras will reduce congestion is farcical. Mr Page (Councillor for Frinton and Walton) has obviously not driven on the A127 during the rush hour. If he had he would realise that the congestion at the A129 junction is caused by a roundabout that is not allowed to function properly and has badly phased traffic lights on it. The congestion after this junction is caused by the traffic lights at Progress Road. The congestion has nothing to do with speed and a lot to do with bad planning.

 

Now "Safety" cameras are supposed to be a deterrent for drivers and a sign that you are entering a potentially dangerous area. To my mind this means that you make the cameras obvious and post signs showing their presence. Well the cameras that have been erected are painted yellow, but strangely they are placed in the central reservation and are "T" shaped. Coincidentally the street lights are "T" shaped and also placed in the central reservation... That is with the exception of a bend just before the A129 junction heading into Southend. There the street lights are single on either side of the carriageway and strangely so are the speed cameras.

 

So far the effect of these new cameras has caused more danger on the road rather than improve the drivers speeding. In fact the speed differential is quite alarming with traffic crawling along at 40mph in clear conditions. Drivers seem to be confused by the cameras and are driving erratically. If the objective of these SPECs is to reduce the speed on that section of the road to 70mph, then it has far exceeded expectations, but at the same time has introduces a much greater element of risk to drivers.

 

 

Article by Mike Barrett

 

SPECs speed cameras on the A127

 

SPECs speed cameras on the A127

 

SPECs speed cameras on the A127

 

SPECs speed cameras on the A127

 

SPECs speed cameras on the A127

How do SPECs speed cameras work?

SPECs average speed cameras work in pairs or more and are most frequently seen as temporary cameras in roadworks. They work by using an ANPR (automatic number plate recognition) system recording your details as you enter a section of road controlled by SPECs cameras. When you pass the next camera in the chain the ANPR system works out how long you took to cover the distance between the cameras and thus your average speed over that stretch.

 

It is apparent that a lot of road users do not understand or recognise the cameras as they seem to slow down to pass them and then speed up again after: 3 points whizzing their way in the post...

 

Press Release from the Essex Casualty Reduction Board- October 2008

www.drivingcasualtiesdown.org

 

Danger Stretch of A127 Targeted By New Safety Scheme

Speed Averaging Could Achieve 50% Reduction in Deaths and Serious Injuries on Notorious Accident Stretch.


A new road safety scheme aimed at reducing death and serious injury on the most notorious accident stretch of the A127 and involving high-tech speeding detection technology is to be operational early in the New Year.


The technology being used, speed averaging cameras, has been successfully used elsewhere in the UK to reduce accidents, with 50% falls in serious casualties being recorded.


Similar schemes have also seen reductions in congestion and delays not only by reducing the number of incidents on stretches of road where the technology has been used, but also by allowing traffic to flow at a more constant speed.


In the past, the part of the eastern end of the A127 in question has been affected by a high number of serious accidents. The 10km stretch between Nevendon and the Southend on Sea boundary has seen 4 fatal, 27 serious and 152 slight accidents in the past 3 years, resulting in over 250 casualties

Now, with funding available from the private and public sector, a new route management project is being delivered involving the introduction of a new 50mph speed limit and average speed safety cameras.


The scheme will cover the accident stretch with a 70mph limit from the Nevendon interchange to just after the Dick Turpin pub and reduced to 50mph for the remaining 6.2km leading up to the Southend-on-Sea Borough boundary.


The project, which is the first of its kind in Essex, will include:

 

· An average speed safety camera zone stretching 10km from the Nevendon interchange to the Southend on Sea Borough boundary.

 

· This will be 70mph limit for the first 3.8km and then a 50mph speed limit, (6.2km in length), which will run from the junction with the un-named road to Fanton Hall (just past the Dick Turpin public house eastbound), to the Southend on Sea Borough boundary

 

· A comprehensive package of advisory signing

 

· Remedial work, such as improved signing and barriers

 

· Automatic Number Plate Recognition (ANPR) cameras, with journey time measuring capability.

Normal road policing activity will also support the scheme.


This project, estimated to cost £1.2m uses some recent developments with the average speed camera system such as the ability to track ‘lane changing’ and utilises infra-red lighting to enhance night-time enforcement. The scheme is to be part funded by the Essex-based firm KeyMed Ltd.


Councillor Norman Hume, Cabinet member of Highways and Transportation said: “I am pleased we are going to be able to deliver this technology which is proven to reduce accidents on one of our busiest roads."


“With this scheme we will see fewer lives affected by the personal tragedy which accompanies serious accidents on Essex’s roads."


“Speed averaging cameras also have a role to play in easing congestion, not only in reducing accidents and therefore accompanying delays, but also in evening out traffic flows and I hope this will be the case with the A127."


“My thanks go to our partners at KeyMed who are generously supporting this venture which will make a real positive difference to our resident’s lives.”


Chief Superintendent Mick Thwaites of Essex Police said: “This route management strategy is an innovative project which we fully support and we anticipate that it will dramatically reduce the level of casualties on this road.”


The installation work began in September 2008, with the preparation of utilities. Much of the above ground work will now begin and implementation of most of the project will be carried out during off peak hours, with the minimum of inconvenience to road users.


It is expected that the works, including the introduction of the new reduced speed limit, will be completed in early 2009.

 

Conclusion/Commentary

Call me cynical if you like, but these cameras seem designed to look similar to the street lighting and installing the SPECs when the speed limit is at 70mph and dropping it later to 50mph just smacks of a revenue generation exercise...

 

Don't get me wrong. I am not an advocate for speeding, and I am in favor of enforced speed limits where appropriate, but the area around where I live has far more speed cameras than the national average.

 

Maybe our council district has an excess of funds! If that is so then I feel it would be much better invested in investigating ways to relieve the congestion rather than the standard "speed kills" argument with new speed camera installations which provide the Government with additional revenue and do not improve the real situation on the roads.

References

Manufacturers Website

PocketGPSWorld.com Speed Camera Database

Pocket GPS Contributor

Mike Barrett

Pocket GPS Contributor Website

www.Pocketgpsworld.com

   

 

 

Comments
Posted by M8TJT on Thu Dec 11, 2008 6:39 pm Reply with quote

Why oh why do 'council spokesmen' insist of giving distances in km. It is illegal to signpost in km so why do they insist on using km instead of miles(you know, a round 1760 yards, 8 furlongs and goodness knows how many chains). Our speedos are calibrated in mph and the odometer is usualy in miles, signposts have to be in miles/yards. They still talk about miles per hour (because it's the law), and our basic measurment is miles NOT km????? Rolling Eyes


 
Posted by DennisN on Thu Dec 11, 2008 7:06 pm Reply with quote

Why don't KeyMed sponsor a roundabout like anybody else? Will they be advertising themselves as sponsors of your local speed cameras? Laughing


Dennis

Where there's a will .... there's a wake.

 
Posted by Rick-uk on Thu Dec 11, 2008 7:31 pm Reply with quote

M8TJT Wrote:
... why do they insist on using km instead of miles...


Although when signs are being replaced approaching motorway junctions it is not uncommon for the new sign to be repositioned at two thirds and one third miles, which coincidentally is near enough one and half kilometres.


Metrification of our roads by backdoor means?


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Posted by Flyboy0902 on Thu Dec 11, 2008 7:31 pm Reply with quote

Just got back from Essex via the A127 and nearly crashed twice due to people not knowing exactly what speed they are in fact allowed travel at. The signs are all national speed limit, but people are coming up to the new cameras and lamping on the brakes just in case they are live at 50mph!!! Confused If someone doesn't get killed before the local authority formally drops the limit to 50mph I'll be amazed!!


 
Posted by DennisN on Thu Dec 11, 2008 7:49 pm Reply with quote

Rick-uk Wrote:
M8TJT Wrote:
... why do they insist on using km instead of miles...


Although when signs are being replaced approaching motorway junctions it is not uncommon for the new sign to be repositioned at two thirds and one third miles, which coincidentally is near enough one and half kilometres.

Metrification of our roads by backdoor means?
Have you ever looked at those little posts at the side of the motorways? They have a number (e.g. 157.4) and a little telephone symbol pointing in the direction of the nearest emergency phone. They are and always have been at 100 metre intervals and indicate the distance in kilometres from wherever they measure from (start of motorway, say London, Birmingham, Liverpool, etc). They increment upwards one direction, downwards the opposite. The ONLY reason why miles were kept on the roads when metrification was forced on us old fogies, was that it was OK for us to have to sell or buy in metres, kilos and litres, buying new tape measures, weighing scales and measuring jugs, but metrification of roads would have meant the government funding millions of sign replacements. Cynical?


Dennis

Where there's a will .... there's a wake.

 
Posted by Rick-uk on Thu Dec 11, 2008 8:22 pm Reply with quote

When I was learning to drive (way back when) I am sure that the highway code showed those posts as being 100 yards apart.

Will Shakespeare be next? Razz

Pounds - The Merchant of Venice 'Take then thy bond, take thou thy 0.4536 kilograms of flesh'

Ounces - King Lear 'Give me 28.35 grams of civet, good apothecary, to sweeten my imagination'

Miles - Romeo and Juliet 'Villain and he may be many 1.6093 kilometres asunder'

Pints - Othello 'Good faith, a little one not past 0.5683 litre as I am a soldier'

Inch - The Taming of the Shrew 'I'll not budge 2.54 centimetres'


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Posted by Tim Buxton on Thu Dec 11, 2008 8:25 pm Reply with quote

M8TJT Wrote:
(you know, a round 1760 yards, 8 furlongs and goodness knows how many chains).


Eighty chains, squire.


Tim

 
Posted by batties on Thu Dec 11, 2008 8:26 pm Reply with quote

I also posted these specs earlier this week to the speed camera database.

The press article from the local paper can be found here

http://www.echo-news.co.uk/news/3944040.New_average_speed_cameras_go_up_on_A127/

Off to download the latest camera release so I capture these specs !

Cheers Mike for the write-up.


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Posted by Andy_P on Thu Dec 11, 2008 9:56 pm Reply with quote

Anyone know what this KeyMed Ltd. do?

Boycott anyone? Wink


"Settling in nicely" ;-)

 
Posted by Jellyroll on Thu Dec 11, 2008 10:52 pm Reply with quote

KeyMed make boroscopes.

I wouldn't be surprised if the majority of the fatal and serious accidents were caused by "lads" on their way to Southend on a Friday and Saturday night for an unofficial "cruise". Why should they be operational the rest of the time?

Thank $deity I moved from Southend to Lancashire a couple of years ago.


 
Posted by MikeB on Thu Dec 11, 2008 11:20 pm Reply with quote

Andy_P Wrote:

Boycott anyone? Wink


Most definately no boycott. Not only do Keymed manufacture critical health care equipment but they also employ lots of local people and support a large number of charities and fundraising events for good causes.

http://www.keymed.co.uk/index.cfm


Mike Barrett
Editor, PocketGPSWorld.com

 
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