Bus-mounted cameras could be used to keep bus and cycle lanes clear, if a proposed amendment Road Traffic Acts goes ahead.
National Transport Authority (NTA) said it views that a law change is needed for the BusConnects programme planned for Dublin, Cork, Limerick and Galway. NTA spokesman Dermot O’Gara said: “We have said that we believe that BusConnects will require camera enforcement of bus lanes. We believe legislation is required and we are pursuing that.”
He said the NTA will take a look at the Fianna Fail Private Members’ bill published this week.
Internationally camera-enforcement is done using a mix of fixed cameras, and cameras mounted on buses or on special enforcement cars. It is viewed as more sustainable and effective than having police officers ‘on every corner.’
A report by the Washington DC-based Transportation Planning Board found that bus-mounted CCTV cameras are more effective with for every $1 invested yielding $8 in “travel time savings and fleet saving benefits”, compared to $5 in benefits for fixed cameras.
“Unfortunately, the laws related to cycle and bus lanes are frequently violated and present a significant inconvenience to bus drivers, the people who use buses and to cyclists,” Fianna Fail transport spokesman Robert Troy told the Dail on Thursday. “One morning, I spotted at least 15 cars parked illegally in a bus or cycle lane in a relatively short distance between Portobello and College Green.”
He added: “In the case of cycle lanes, the presence of vehicles also presents a significant risk as cyclists must swerve into traffic to avoid parked vehicles. Ireland’s cycling infrastructure is wholly inadequate as it is without it being rendered unusable by the presence of parked cars, skips and multiple other items being put in the way. These are widespread issues. I frequently take Dublin Bus.”
Troy said: “I believe that this could be done through the use of CCTV cameras to reinforce these new road traffic laws and increase detection of these offences. For example, Dublin Bus vehicles could be fitted with CCTV cameras to detect violations of these laws. This is already the case in the United Kingdom, New Zealand and many other jurisdictions.
He said evidence from these jurisdictions shows that enforcement works. He used the example of Gateshead in the UK where he said there was initial surge in the number of fines to motorists, but the level halved as drivers avoided fines.
Troy said: “We are robbing people of one of their most valuable assets, time. This legislation is but a small measure that would help to speed up buses and make them more attractive, and be safer for cyclists. I hope that the Bill will enjoy cross-party support, given its importance to all transport users in Ireland. Our capital city is becoming one of the most congested in Europe. We must do all we can in the short and medium term to get Dublin moving again.”