The Dutch company Gatsometer BV supplies speed camera equipment, and has been using radar since 1971. Gatsometer's current radar equipment operates within the 24 Gigahertz-band, which is available worldwide.
How Do They Work ?
Gatso speed cameras are most often found in fixed positions by the roadside on poles. They can also be used on a trailer on a tripod. Fixed installation Gatso cameras are rear facing as they use a 'flash' to photograph the vehicle. They do not flash the front of a vehicle because this would dangerously distract the driver. Sometimes Gatso cameras are reversible and can be turned to face different directions.
The photographs are taken using standard 35mm films with a capacity of around 400 pictures. These films must therefore be changed regularly.
Up to 100 km/h, the margin of error is 2 km/h maximum, above that, 2% of the registered speed - well within the legal margin of error. They are also tested for resilience under all weather conditions: up to 95% relative humidity, and from 15° below zero to 60° above, 24 hours a day, 365 days a year. The cameras are also equipped with a timer, so that operating times can be limited: to rush hour only for example.
After mid 2004, the new MK2 system will be available for even broader, busier roads. The MK2 will take speed and distance measurements, as well as registering the lane in which a vehicle is traveling. This will make it easy to identify offenders on a busy road. In the Netherlands Gatsometer products meet all the criteria for police measuring equipment prescribed by the Ministries of Justice and Internal Affairs. Abroad Gatsometer products are officially approved and conform to all relevant national demands. Gatsometer itself has ISO 9001 certification (2000 version).
In order to identify vehicles and license plates correctly under all circumstances, Gatsometer camera systems are fitted with more than one flash system. A flash unit inside the camera cabinet or mounted on the gantry briefly illuminates the license plate. The photo then has sufficient clarity and contrast even when taken into the sun. At night a second flash is needed to illuminate the vehicle itself from another angle. The night flash is positioned at the roadside a few meters in front of the camera.
How Do They Help Road Safety ?
In dozens of countries all over the world, Gatso automated controls on roadside poles act as a deterrent. To make best use of available cameras, Gatsometer supplies dummy radars and cameras that flash and register speeds for statistical purposes, but take no actual pictures. Therefore a limited number of cameras can be circulated between a larger number of poles.
Read our News Stories for information and statistics on the impact speed cameras have on road safety.
They (Gatsometer) Say:
“Automated controls are vital for road safety, because drivers are always pushing the limits … Radar is a trustworthy and flexible method of measuring speed. The technology requires no interference with the road surface. One radar pole at the roadside can supervise three lanes, both approaching and receding traffic, up to two measurements per second. With its radar beam, the Radar 24 casts a radar curtain of aligned 22° vertically and 5° horizontally across the road. No vehicle can slip through unobserved.
Vertical alignment of the radar beam is not necessary, which makes the Radar 24 ideal for stationary mobile speed measurement. And since the system takes not one but a few hundred readings while a vehicle passes, errors are practically eliminated. Radar reflections between vehicles and beam interference are ignored. The Radar 24 can also distinguish between cars and trucks, which allows the use of separate speed thresholds.”
These are the most common types of camera, but they are easily detected. The cameras are usually in fixed locations, therefore the sites are on GPS databases. Also, the radar signals emitted can be picked up by radar detectors.