3/27/2014Australia: Territory Auditor Blasts ACT Speed Cameras
Government audit of Australian Capital Territory speed camera program finds no safety rationale behind deployment and use of the devices.
The Australian Capital Territory (ACT) has issued 721,802 speed camera tickets worth $106 million for the state government since 1999, yet a performance audit released Thursday questioned whether the ticketing operation involving 39 mobile and fixed photo enforcement cameras has any relation to improved safety.
"The ACT is unlikely to have the right number of speed cameras in the right places," ACT Auditor-General Maxine Cooper wrote. "The effectiveness of speed cameras in the ACT has not been established. Speed camera reliability is poor... There is no strategic basis for making decisions for integrating the use of the ACT's speed camera systems as the ACT government does not have a speed camera strategy and its draft ACT road safety camera strategy (September 2013) is 'not a strategy.'"
The audit presumes cameras can have a safety effect, despite the 1995 conclusion of the Australian Road Research Board that the devices did not reduce traffic collisions (read report). Auditors were upset by the lack of consistent principle in the state government's choice of how to use the cameras and the continuous expansion of the program without reference to any measurable goals. The state government in the ACT also assumes cameras work.
"Although an increasing number of speed cameras and speed camera systems were implemented in the ACT from 1999 onwards, the ACT Government has not developed an evaluation framework to test the cumulative effectiveness of all its speed cameras on speeding and crashes across the whole ACT road network," Cooper found.
The devices in use tend to be old, put in place more than a decade ago, with no plan laying out a rational basis for when and how they should be replaced. Maintenance has also proved to be lax.
"The contractor is required to provide a monthly report (10th of the month) which includes a summary of the planned and reactive maintenance undertaken in the previous month," Cooper wrote. "This is not happening. While invoices with site reference numbers are submitted by the contractor confirm the number of visits and which camera sites have been inspected, these can only be used to confirm the number of visits, and not the completeness of maintenance checks."
With recommended maintenance practices rarely followed, many of the citations end up being tossed out.
"The ACT Traffic Camera Office has a relatively high rejection rate of potential infringements due to adjudication. Between 18 and 43 per cent of all potential infringements per year over the last fourteen years have been rejected during adjudication. Rejected infringements are deemed to have not met evidentiary requirements."
The audit recommends that the territory's government create measurable objectives for the program.
A copy of the audit is available in a 2mb PDF file at the source link below.