herald

Tuesday 28 March 2017

New high-tech Port Tunnel speed cameras set to go live in weeks

The latest road-safety technology will be used to track the average speed of drivers using the Port Tunnel
The latest road-safety technology will be used to track the average speed of drivers using the Port Tunnel

New technology to catch speeding motorists in the Port Tunnel is due to go live in the coming weeks.

Drivers exceeding the speed limit in the tunnel will be caught using a new safety system that tracks their average speed through the urban motorway.

The system has now been tested to satisfaction and will come into operation shortly after it is signed-off and minor formalities are cleared.

It was announced last June by Transport Infrastructure Ireland (TII) and An Garda Siochana that a new average speed detection system would be installed in the tunnel, which would track drivers and calculate their speed through its 4.5km distance.

Limit

Once implemented, any motorist completing the journey in anything less than three minutes and 30 seconds would be breaking the 80kmh speed limit.

When the system determines that a vehicle has exceeded the speed limit, it will automatically create a record of the violation, which will then be transmitted to gardai. This will result in automatic fines of €80 plus three penalty points.

The average speed is recorded between two camera positions covering all lanes, therefore switching lanes will have no effect on average speed monitoring.

The system will not have flashing lights or other operational indications, but it will be monitoring at all times.

The 4.5km distance is calculated from cameras positioned at each end of the tunnel.

Once operational, it will be the first average speed camera enforcement system in Ireland.

A TII spokesman has said the detection system, which is now visible to motorists, has already had an effect on driver behaviour.

"It seems to be acting as a visual deterrent, because we can see on cameras that driver habits have changed. People are slowing down and leaving a greater distance between them and the vehicle in front," he told the Herald.

Safer

"There is also less lane switching and the overall effect is safer driving."

The launch of the system will coincide with a publicity campaign backed by the TII, gardai, and the Department of Transport.

"Due to an increase in traffic travelling through Dublin Port Tunnel, this new enforcement system provides additional support toward maintaining a safe travel experience for all users," said Chief Superintendent Aidan Reid from the Garda National Traffic Bureau.

"Traffic levels through the tunnel have increased by 40pc over the last five years, which means that, statistically, there is a greater chance of collisions and accidents."

Around 24,000 vehicles use the tunnel every day, and research suggests that use of the average speed detection system can reduce collision rates by as much as 50pc.

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