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How cameras work

Understanding how road safety cameras work

Technical requirements

Different camera systems are used in various locations across the state’s road network.

Depending on the type of camera system it may be required to:

  • photograph a vehicle/s involved in an offence
  • detect the direction of a moving vehicle
  • differentiate between vehicles on a multi-lane road (a vehicle captured speeding or running a red-light can be identified by checking their lane position)
  • use other traffic data, for example variable speed limits, to detect offences
  • calculate the speed of a vehicle/s
  • use independent Secondary speed verification technology to verify speeding incidents
  • capture the time elapsed after a traffic light has turned red.

Devices and technology

There are a number of devices and a range of technology used in Victoria’s fixed road safety camera network.

  • Road safety cameras
    Road safety cameras are used to capture images of traffic offences. A central unit controls the camera that electronically stores encrypted images and incident information.
  • Speed Calculation Unit (SCU)
    • In-road sensors
      The most commonly deployed SCUs use electronic in-road sensors to detect the speed of a vehicle.  Two in-road sensors, such as piezos or inductive loops, are placed a fixed distance apart. This fixed distance, and the time it takes for a vehicle to travel between the sensors, is used to calculate the speed of a vehicle.
      These sensors are also used for red-light offences and work to detect the movement of a vehicle as it enters an intersection. If a vehicle enters the intersection after the traffic light has turned red, the sensors trigger the camera.
      In-road sensors are installed in individual lanes on roadways. This allows the system to differentiate between vehicles in different lanes.
  • Radar technology
    SCUs using radar technology are devices can detect a vehicle’s speed. This is done when the device sends out a radar signal that bounces off the vehicle back to the radar device. Because the frequency of the received signal is different to the one transmitted, its speed calculation is highly accurate.
  • Optical character recognition
    This computer-based system can read vehicle number plate letter and number combinations and is used in point-to-point camera systems.

Camera data security

Victoria has strict security measures in place to guarantee all data captured by road safety cameras is secure, as this material can be used in court as evidence.

These security measures also place strict controls on the use of any personal information collected through the road safety camera network. This ensures that the privacy of individuals is protected, in compliance with the Department of Justice & Regulation's obligations under the Privacy and Data Protection Act 2014.

Monitoring multiple lanes

Fixed digital road safety cameras can monitor multiple lanes for both speeding and red-light offences.

The system differentiates between lanes and only the offending vehicle will be fined.

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