Average speed cameras, so beloved of motorway work areas, are to be introduced to residential neighbourhoods in the New Year after being approved by the Home Office.

The cameras, which will operate in clusters, are linked together wirelessly, and can track motorists over an area of up to 15 miles, assessing the time over the distance.

Although the average speed cameras, known as Specs3, don't result in as many speeding tickets as the traditional Gatso cameras, they do lower traffic casualties. According to data, more than 99 per cent of motorists obey the limit when the cameras are in operation.

Department of Transportation research has shown that reducing speed to 20mph in residential areas is much safer, so the average speed cameras are seen as an effective alternative to the more usual traffic calming measures.

The critics reply

Critics aren't convinced by the new measure. They point out that motorists will still speed for short bursts, but the stops and starts of a residential area will still mean their average speed will be less than 20 mph.

However, Councillor Bob Belam, cabinet member for environment at Waltham Forest council, is convinced. He told The Times: "Having this [new] technology will be more beneficial than a series of road humps that slow down the response times of the ambulances and fire engines."

It will certainly increase the number of speeding tickets, which last year passed the 1.5 million mark for the first time.

Via The Times