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10/21/2008
Australia Deploys Noise Cameras
Noise cameras become the latest ticketing technology deployed against motorists in New South Wales, Australia.

Noise Camera
State governments across Australia are poised to deploy automated cameras that mail tickets to vehicles considered by a machine to be noisy. The fully automated noise camera systems have been in development since 2005 but are now are active and issuing warning notices in the small New South Wales suburb of Mount Ousley, according to the Roads and Traffic Authority (RTA) Annual Report. The agency is looking for a regulatory means of making such ticketing solutions more common.

"The RTA is contributing to the development of the 'Planning Guideline for Residential and other Sensitive Building Developments alongside Major Roads,'" the RTA report explains. "This will include requirements to address noise for new residential development along nominated roads and rail corridors.... RTA continues to develop technology in the form of a suitable noise camera to use as an enforcement device."

The fully automated noise analysis system designed by the NSW firm Acoustic Research Laboratories uses a set of microphones and cameras that continuously record and analyze activity on a neighborhood street. A computer program processes the audio data to isolate trigger sounds from general background road noise. This allows the device find opportunities to mail a traffic citation to passing vehicles that exceed a predetermined noise threshold. Once configured, the machine will generate up to 10,000 tickets before the on-board hard drive is filled. A 10-second video and audio clip is stored for each incident for use in court proceedings.

South Australia and Victoria have begun similar programs with each state focusing on the noise of heavy commercial truck compression brakes, an issue designed to court local approval of the ticketing technology.

"In parallel with the development of the acoustic measurement methodology, Transport South Australia has developed camera technology that can be linked with the measurement software," Australia's National Transport Commission reported. "The combination of these systems offers the potential for excessive engine brake noise incidents to be identified and recorded, which may provide a useful tool to enforcement agencies."

The commission approved the regulation against engine compression brakes last November. The ticketing system can also be easily expanded to issue citations for loud subwoofers, noisy exhausts, or even an inopportune honk of the horn.



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