Cam­eras’ fu­ture un­cer­tain

Central Leader - - News - By Rhi­an­non Hor­rell

Auck­land’s red-light cam­eras have been snap­ping im­pa­tient driv­ers for nearly a year but their fu­ture is un­cer­tain.

At its June meet­ing the Auck­land City Coun­cil’s trans­port com­mit­tee will as­sess in­for­ma­tion show­ing po­ten­tial changes in driver be­hav­iour as a re­sult of the cam­eras.

The project was launched in May last year with two cam­eras, but now three red-light cam­eras ro­tate through 10 sites.

Trans­port com­mit­tee deputy chair­man John Lis­ter says the be­hav­iour of Auck­lan­ders had made red-light cam­eras nec­es­sary.

“It is ob­vi­ously work­ing be­cause be­hav­iour has changed. We are very happy with it,” he says.

Les­ley Wal­lace of na­tional po­lice head­quar­ters says more than 2200 in­fringe­ment no­tices were is­sued in Auck­land be­tween May 2008 and Fe­bru­ary this year.

Those in­clude fail­ing to stop for flash­ing red lights, turn­ing against a red ar­row and cross­ing against the red lights, she says.

City road safety man­ager Karen Hay says the fi­nal eval­u­a­tion of the pi­lot will be com­pleted later this year and will be used to start dis­cus­sions about fund­ing.

“This is still a pi­lot project and un­til the full eval­u­a­tion is com­plete and con­sid­ered, the fu­ture of red-light cam­eras is not known.”

The ini­tial out­lay for the pi­lot was $800,000.

“The pi­lot was funded as a one off and fu­ture fund­ing mech­a­nisms need to be de­ter­mined,” she says.

The project has been a part­ner­ship be­tween the coun­cil and po­lice, with mo­torists be­ing fined $150 if they run a red light.

“The eval­u­a­tion of the pi­lot is to es­tab­lish if a change of driver be­hav­iour has occurred as a re­sult of the cam­eras be­ing in­stalled,” says Ms Hay.

She says the project has been com­plex and there is room for im­prove­ment.

The fi­nal data will be pre­sented to the New Zealand Trans­port Au­thor­ity for con­sid­er­a­tion.

Trans­port com­mit­tee chair­man Ken Bag­u­ley says the coun­cil would like to ex­tend the project but it de­pends on the avail­abil­ity of po­lice to con­trol the cam­eras.

“When we did our ini­tial re­search we found there were an aw­ful lot of peo­ple run­ning red lights.

“We want to ex­tend it in a man­ner that is af­ford­able but there are prac­ti­cal dif­fi­cul­ties,” he says.

“There are no plans to ex­tend the num­ber of sites. It is in limbo at present.”

Ms Hay says the data will also look at the flow-on ef­fects at in­ter­sec­tions near those which host the red-light cam­eras.

Mr Lis­ter was in­volved in the launch of the cam­eras last May but says it is dis­ap­point­ing that all the fines go to cen­tral gov­ern­ment as it is an ed­u­ca­tional pro­gramme, not one that cre­ates rev­enue.

He says a new cam­paign is also be­ing planned to tar­get cy­clists who go through red-lights.

Mr Lis­ter says it is harder to iden­tify them as they do not have num­ber plates but if they are couri­ers they are of­ten wear­ing a com­pany logo.


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