“One or two” red light cameras may be up and running in 2025, says NTA

Existing red light cameras in Dublin, which operated for only a short time, will need to be replaced before automated enforcement re-starts, the National Transport Authority (NTA) has said.

Then Transport Minister Paschal Donohoe launched the red light camera pilot programme in 2015. Around 1,300 motorists were fined for running before the short-lived trial ended. The cameras — on Blackhall Place and on the former N4 route with its junction with South Circular Road — have been left idle ever since.

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Road collision data in Ireland is not readily available on the nature of incidents such as red light running but in some years at least 2-3 pedestrians have been killed by motorists running red lights.

The near-decade of delay officials, politicians and concerned residents wonder who’s responsible. A large part of the delay in the rollout is linked to the broadening-out of camera enforcement to include the likes of bus and cycle lane enforcement.

The Department of Transport, in January, outlined that “NTA intends to develop the system design and technical specifications for the Blackhall Place site shortly. While the Blackhall Place site is not currently operational, it is expected to be reactivated following the appointment of a specialist service provider.”

The NTA has now confirmed to this website that this process is planned. But rather than progress happening “shortly”, as the Department indicated, the NTA said that a procurement process “will be put in place later this year” and “the expectation that one or two locations will be operational early next year”.

A spokesperson for the NTA said: “…it is the intention of the NTA to collaborate with Dublin City Council to seek the rollout of a small number of installations [of red light cammras] on an interim basis, using the model developed for Blackhall Place.”

“This will require running procurement processes for both new cameras, as the previous technology has reached the end of its useful life, and a system operator. Arrangements for the undertaking of these procurements will be put in place later this year, with the expectation that one or two locations will be operational early next year. This will represent an interim arrangement pending the development of the wider camera enforcement strategy,” the spokesperson said.

Cllr Janet Horner (Green Party) said: “The pace of implementing camera enforcement has been maddeningly slow. We have been looking for this for years and after a lot of back and forth they agreed to set up a working group to assess whether a change to primary legislation would be necessary to scale it more widely around the city. That working group was due to report back last year and at this point, I was expecting a clear report with the next steps in order to implement widespread camera-based enforcement around the city.”

“Instead we are still waiting on the finalisation of arrangements and then a small number on an interim basis – not to be in place til next year. Why must everything in the NTA take such a maddening snail’s pace? We should have had a nationwide camera enforcement strategy in place 5, if not 10 years ago,” she said.

Cllr Horner added: “This is one singular step that could make a huge difference overnight to the safety of our streets and efficiency of our public transport. So it should be given significant prioritisation,” she said.

Outlining the details of the wider process so-far and what’s planned for now, an NTA spokesperson said: “A red light camera installation was installed at Blackhall Place in Dublin some time ago as a pilot project to trial the overall concept and associated arrangements. The system was operated under a legal agreement entered into between the NTA and An Garda Síochána. Although the on-street parts of the system were operated by the NTA, the images captured by the cameras were provided to An Garda Síochána who had responsibility for processing violations detected by the camera system.”

“While the pilot project confirmed the applicability of the technology and the relevant processes, it was identified that the arrangements for the reactivation of the trial site and the deployment of cameras at other locations, would require the retendering of the technical and operational parts of the project. The original installation had been secured as a pilot project only, with that procurement dating back over a decade,” the NTA said.

The NTA said that tendering for just two junctions would not provide a system that would be “scalable contractually to cover other junctions, other areas and other offence types.” A wider system of camera enforcement would “require new tender competitions, leading to potentially multiple different camera types and multiple operators.”

For that wider system, the NTA said it wants to have an overall camera enforcement strategy in place first. The authority said that this would identify the scale and ambit of the overall camera enforcement system needed, and allow the appropriate structuring of the procurement process and make sure the system is planned correctly.

The NTA spokesperson said: “Work on developing such a camera enforcement strategy is underway under the auspices of the Road Safety Transformation Partnership Board (RSTP Board) chaired by the Department of Transport. An initial Working Group has already reported to the RSTP Board and further work is being undertaken by the RSTP Board in the development of overall arrangements for camera enforcement.”

The rollout of the one or two cameras would be an “interim arrangement pending the development of the wider camera enforcement strategy.”

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