New Brunswick

Fredericton police rolling out new devices to combat speeding

The Fredericton Police Force will soon be deploying new portable traffic-calming equipment that can track your speed whether your realize it or not.

Portable 'driver feedback' signs will be set up in speeding hot spots in coming weeks

Fredericton police said more signs will be set up to show drivers how fast they're going and potentially reduce speeding. The new signs are similar to the radar speed signs already in the city, including this one on Priestman Street, but they store data. (Colin McPhail/CBC News)

Fredericton police will soon be deploying new portable traffic-calming equipment that can track your speed whether you realize it or not.

Portable "driver feedback" signs will be set up in hot spots for speeding around the city, according to Staff Sgt. Paul Battiste.

The solar-powered devices are much like the roadside radar signs that display the speeds of passing vehicles. 

But while flashing drivers their speeds, these machines will also store the data, giving the Fredericton Police Force a picture of the traffic and speeding at particular spots.

Within a few weeks, the force will place the signs in areas that have received many complaints, Battiste said.

"We can deploy that sign to a specific location and automatically give drivers feedback on their speeds and hopefully to manipulate their driving habits, so that they become more abiding to the speeds," he said.

Staff Sgt. Paul Battiste explains the roll-out of portable driver feedback signs across Fredericton. (Gary Moore/CBC News)

The devices can also track vehicles when they appear to be turned off. With a stealth mode function, speed data will continue to be gathered but not displayed.

Officers can then analyze the overall findings to spot traffic patterns and determine the effectiveness of the radar display.

Photo radar and pace cars

Battiste outlined the plan to the city's public safety and environment committee Tuesday while discussing other traffic-calming measures, including a photo radar trailer.

The officer said the mobile trailer monitors and displays speeds but also comes with a camera that captures vehicles as they pass.

Battiste said the quality and resolution of the photos is not high enough to discern drivers or licence plates — the make and model at most, he said. The images will be used for information purposes rather than ticketing, he said.

Battiste says the new devices will be placed in places where people have complained about speeding. (Gary Moore/CBC News)

"That's not our intention with this radar trailer at all," Battiste said.

Using photography to enforce traffic laws — chiefly red-light cameras — has been a long-discussed issue in the city, and the idea received support from the committee as recently as last year.

Permitting the installation of red-light cameras would require changes to provincial legislation, however.

During the meeting, Battiste also mentioned the use of pace cars to help slow down traffic. He said the concept has been been adopted in other municipalities, but there is no formal plan for it in Fredericton. 

With files from Gary Moore