Vans will enforce speed everywhere
Mobile units to watch high-volume crash sites

Diana Balazs and Carol Sowers
The Arizona Republic
Sept. 5, 2007 12:00 AM
If you think you've escaped speed cameras after leaving Scottsdale's Loop 101 freeway, think again.

The Arizona Department of Public Safety has awarded a $96,000-a-year contract to Scottsdale-based Redflex Traffic Systems for two mobile speed-enforcement cameras at high-volume collision sites on state highways.

The sensor-triggered vans, which run on alternative fuel, could turn up anywhere in the state in the next 60 days as part of a pilot program to reduce speed and collisions, Lt. Bob Ticer said.

"They can be on urban or rural highways, construction zones and intersections, wherever our commanders tell us there are a high number of crashes," he said.

The first two vans are possibly the first step in expanding the speed cameras into a "more complex statewide system," Ticer said.

The Redflex contract, awarded Aug. 20, is for one year, but could be renewed for another year.

"That would give us time to see if speeds are slower, and if they are reducing crashes." Ticer said.

"That is our goal."

DPS also has not ruled out cameras on stationary poles, like those on a 7.8-mile stretch of Scottsdale's portion of Loop 101 between Scottsdale Road and the Pima Road/90th Street intersection.

There is evidence that freeway cameras reduce the severity of collisions by slowing traffic.

Cameras on Scottsdale's stretch of the Loop 101 reduced crashes by as much as 70 percent compared with a segment of the freeway in the West Valley, according to a January preliminary report by Simon Washington, an Arizona State University traffic expert.

Redflex pioneered the Loop 101 cameras.

But in May, the City Council awarded the contract to American Traffic Solutions Inc., also in Scottsdale, a Redflex rival.

Pat Dodds, a Scottsdale spokesman, welcomed the new vans.

"That's great news," he said. "They are clearly moving ahead with the program."

DPS has experience with photo-enforcement cameras.

The agency oversees and issues citations on the Scottsdale leg of the Loop 101, under a deal with the city.