Speed fiends beware - no escape from new cameras

The average speed camera system in Tanah Merah Coast Road (left and above) is likely to be activated in the next few months. It is the latest initiative by the authorities to curb speeding and improve overall road safety.
The average speed camera system in Tanah Merah Coast Road (above) is likely to be activated in the next few months. It is the latest initiative by the authorities to curb speeding and improve overall road safety.PHOTO: AZIZ HUSSIN FOR THE STRAITS TIMES
The average speed camera system in Tanah Merah Coast Road (left and above) is likely to be activated in the next few months. It is the latest initiative by the authorities to curb speeding and improve overall road safety.
The average speed camera system in Tanah Merah Coast Road (above) is likely to be activated in the next few months. It is the latest initiative by the authorities to curb speeding and improve overall road safety.PHOTO: AZIZ HUSSIN FOR THE STRAITS TIMES

They calculate a vehicle's average speed over a stretch of Tanah Merah Coast Road

Motorists travelling along Tanah Merah Coast Road near Changi Airport will soon have to watch their speedometer over a longer distance.

New cameras that calculate a vehicle's average speed over a stretch of road are set to be permanent features along the coastal road, following trials by the Traffic Police in the same area.

The cameras are mounted on lamp posts along the central divider and will monitor vehicles as they enter an enforcement zone and again, when they exit it.

The time taken to travel the distance will be used to determine whether or not a motorist has been speeding.

The system is equipped with technology that can distinguish between trucks, lorries and other vehicles such as a normal passenger car, based on their radar signature.

The Traffic Police has not said when the average speed camera (ASC) system will be activated, but The Straits Times understands that it could go online in the next few months.

Nanyang Technological University senior research fellow and road safety expert Gopinath Menon, 74, said that such a system should help regulate speeds, especially for long stretches like the Tanah Merah Coast Road that spans about 10km.

"It is a long straight road, almost like an expressway, so there is a tendency for motorists to pick up speed. A normal camera captures the speed at a particular spot and while studies have shown that motorists do slow down when approaching the camera, once they pass the spot, the speed increases.

"With the new ASC system, we can expect the desired behaviour and speed to be maintained over a longer distance," Mr Menon said.

Similar cameras have been deployed in other countries such as Australia, the Netherlands and Britain, with research suggesting that they have been effective in curbing speeding, he said.

In 2016, two people died in separate accidents along Changi Coast Road, which has over the years featured in several fatal accidents. The road has since been expanded, and it was renamed Tanah Merah Coast Road last April.

Apart from the usual mix of vehicles, the road is frequented by an unusually high number of heavy vehicles, involved in construction works in the area, and leisure cyclists who enjoy the wide, straight roads.

The deployment of average speed cameras is the latest in a slew of initiatives by the authorities in recent years to curb speeding and improve overall road safety.

Statistics unveiled by the Traffic Police last week show encouraging results. Last year, the number of accidents related to speeding fell 29.9 per cent, while those involving drink driving and running red lights fell 2.7 per cent and 0.8 per cent, respectively.

Fewer people also died in road accidents last year, compared with 2016.

A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on February 16, 2018, with the headline 'Speed fiends beware - no escape from new cameras'. Print Edition | Subscribe