Loop 101 photo enforcement to stop
Sensors may be kept longer to gather more data

Michael Ferraresi
The Arizona Republic
Oct. 1, 2006 12:00 AM

SCOTTSDALE - The Loop 101 freeway cameras will be shut off next month, meaning photo citations will cease.

However, transportation officials say they need more time to analyze the impact of the freeway's photo speed-enforcement test, which could take until January.

Scottsdale's nine-month program comes to an end Oct. 23. But transportation General Manager Mary O'Connor is expected Tuesday to ask Scottsdale City Council to extend a state permit to keep traffic sensors embedded in the freeway until the end of the year.

If it is approved, the Arizona Department of Transportation would buy time for Scottsdale engineers to gather data on traffic flow and the average speeds of drivers after the cameras are turned off. The data is important to generating a complete picture of how speed-enforcement technology affects drivers' behavior, O'Connor said.

It is unclear how or whether Scottsdale will try to make its freeway cameras a permanent fixture on Loop 101. The final analysis of the program, compiled by an independent traffic systems expert, could be presented to officials in January.

"It really depends on when we can get that final report developed," O'Connor said. "We really can't start analyzing it until we have that data."

Scottsdale is collecting data from the Arizona Department of Public Safety on the number of crashes on Loop 101 in 2005, compared with 2006, after the cameras were installed.

As many as 200,000 drivers have been flashed by Loop 101 cameras since Scottsdale installed the devices Jan. 22 at six locations from Shea Boulevard to Scottsdale Road.