Page last updated at 12:41 GMT, Tuesday, 20 April 2010 13:41 UK

New speed cameras to use satellite technology

Speed cameras which use a satellite positioning system and number plate recognition technology to track vehicles have been tested in England.

The system was tried out on Salter Road in Southwark, south London and on the A374 in Cornwall.

Details of the tests were revealed in evidence to the House of Commons Transport select committee by PIPS Technology, which devised the system,

A Home Office spokeswoman declined to comment on the trials.

The SpeedSpike system uses automatic number plate recognition and GPS to capture the positions of cars and then calculate an average speed over a distance.

With new complex technology comes the risk of errors
Paul Watters, AA head of public affairs

A record is made of vehicles found to be breaking speed limits.

PIPS Technology said it could be used in a number of areas including motorways, A roads, urban "rat runs" and to enforce speed restrictions around schools.

A spokesperson from the RAC Foundation said: "Casualty figures show that injury and death still occur on roads where the speed limit is 30mph or less.

"Unfortunately, in urban environments where pedestrians and cyclists are present, it is still difficult to get some drivers understand why it is necessary to stick to the limit.

"There have been some excellent safety campaigns which have influenced the driving styles of many drivers in built-up areas but to change attitudes in the few who still want to drive at inappropriate speed, cameras such as SpeedSpike have a role to play."

Congestion charging

Paul Watters, AA head of public affairs, said it members supported speed cameras but added: "We have some concerns about how far these systems extend along roads with many different speed limits impacting on a driver's journey, how well drivers understand them and how well the zones are signed.

"With new complex technology comes the risk of errors and so the government must issue clear guidance on how these systems should be used."

PIPS Technology, with headquarters in the US and offices in Eastleigh, Hampshire, created the Spike Automatic Number Plate Recognition camera used in the London congestion charging zone.

The Spike won the Queen's Award for Innovation in 2005.

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