Page 2959 - Week 07 - Thursday, 30 June 2011

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The cost-benefit analysis in the design study also concluded that implementation of the first stage of works would have high economic worth, with benefit-cost ratios in the range of 6.5 to 14.4. This is based on benefits from crash reductions only, with revenue from infringement notices excluded from this analysis.

The system that has been selected for the ACT involves the capture of vehicle images, specifically images showing the number-plate region of vehicles. It generates time-stamped photographs of vehicles as they pass two places, or detection points, set at a known distance apart. Using vehicle numberplates, it matches an image of a vehicle taken at the first point with an image of the same vehicle at the second point. The system calculates the time difference between the two images to determine how long it took the vehicle to travel between the detection points and uses that time to determine the vehicle’s average speed between those points. If the average speed exceeds the average speed limit between those points, the system will send the matched set of images to the traffic camera office to determine whether a speeding offence has been committed.

The system uses cameras with automated numberplate recognition technology, or ANPR. The ANPR system is based on optical character recognition technology which scans photographs to locate text, particularly in the numberplate area. ANPR systems do not process images that do not contain text.

ANPR technology is already used in the ACT, as part of ACT Policing’s RAPID, recognition and analysis of plates identified system, to detect offences involving unregistered or uninsured vehicles and unlicensed drivers. Since the ACT’s point-to-point camera system includes an ANPR system camera, there is potential for this component to be used to confirm whether vehicles with specific numberplates, such as unregistered or stolen vehicles on the police’s RAPID hot list, have been driven past one or more detection points, in much the same way that the ACT Policing’s RAPID system in designated police cars is already used.

While this potential will not be realised when the system first becomes operational, the system has been designed to include a capacity to match numberplate information from images to those numberplates on ACT Policing’s RAPID list at some future time. The bill includes provisions that allow images to be used in relation to other road transport offences, while strictly limiting their use by other persons or for other purposes. These protections will assist in safeguarding drivers’ privacy.

The bill amends part 6 of the Road Safety (Safety and Traffic Management) Act 1999, which deals with traffic offence detection devices. The amendments will authorise the use of average speed detection systems to enforce laws against speeding. The amendments insert new definitions of terms relevant to average speed detection systems in new section 22AA of the act. Amendments to section 22A provide for the information that must be included on images taken by an average speed detection system.

New section 22B explains the concept of average speed for a vehicle and includes a formula that will be applied by the system to determine the average speed of a vehicle

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