This is an amalgamation of the various threads about cameras on Borough High Street, Tooley St and the hole in the ground outside the Bermondsey Kitchen. They are part of a 22 installation mini-zone which is trialing new technology for use with Congestion Charging.
I asked TfL six questions about the mini-zone and the technology trial and their reply is reproduced below (with my original questions prefixed Q1 etc):
Our ref: CC FOI /1087
Dear Mr Connolly
Thank you for your email of 25th August. To answer your queries:
Q1 As a resident in Tanner St of some 17 years, can you tell me what
information was presented to me regarding this trial, prior to its
instigation. I understand that the Bankside Community Forum was
approached but I am unsure as to its connection with Tanner St.
1. The Congestion Charging Trials team presented the plans for the trial at
Bermondsey Community Council on 6th April and at Borough and Bankside
Community Council on 9th May and welcomed any feedback. Please find
attached the presentation given at those events. These were the two
Community Councils that Southwark Council asked us to attend as they cover
the streets in the Trials area.
Q2. What companies tendered for the trial contract?
2. The companies that tendered for the trial contract were Q-Free, Kapsch,
Siemens, Thales, Atos Origin and a consortium including the Telematics
Partnership, Robot Visual Systems and Fela AG.
Q3. Which companies are currently being evaluated before a full
installation is made?
3. The companies that won the contract and are currently being evaluated
are Kapsch and Q-Free. Attached is the contract award notice published in
the European Journal.
Q4. What is the total cost of the trial?
4. As you can see from the contract award notice, the total value of the
contract is estimated at £2.5m.
The trial is part of the wider Congestion Charging Technology Trials
programme allocated an £18.2m budget between April 2005 and March 2007. TfL
is running technology trials with the aim of (i) identifying more economic
and flexible charging and enforcement solutions and related
telecommunications services; (ii) evaluating solutions in the London context
of a dense urban area (detection rate, operating cost, accuracy); (iii)
testing, proving and integrating technical options (including digital
cameras and communications, road-side ANPR, GPS, Tag and Beacon, and mobile
phone tracking systems); and (iv) informing input to Transport Strategy and
roads plan development.
Q5. What is the individual cost of each hardware installation?
5. This information is not available to TfL as we do not currently have
visibility of the costs of specific sites, only the total contract value as
(£2.5 divided by 22 is around £100,000 for each installation)
Q6. In quantified terms, what benefit does TfL seek from this new
6. The work is part of a trial of a technology that TfL has identified may
offer potential benefits. TfL will assess the costs/benefits offered in
detail as an outcome of the trial. These will inform any business case that
is prepared to justify, or otherwise, the potential future procurement of
new charging technology.
Congestion Charging Technology Trials team
=============End of reply===============
Contained within the contract documention is a reference to the EU standard contract document which can be found at http://ted.publications.eu.int/official/ and the document reference is 2004/S 223-192406
Reading it through I cannot imagine that companies listed under Q2 would be interested in a small contract for 22 installations. This suggests to me that the general terms of the EU document propose the trialing of technology which will be London-wide or national. The expertise of the companies listed suggests that a London-wide or national scheme would be well within their scope.
Clearly London (or London's car users) are being used to fund the development of something with national implications. The current congestion charging zone has around 220 camera points so replacement of that installation with this 'new technology' will cost around £22million. If the zone is expanded to take in London as a whole then the cost will probably be (at a guess) £100million. How much for a UK wide system.
Isn't their a cheaper way of changing our attitudes or is it all about revenue?
> Well, I've just found someone who seems to like
> them on my way from Sainsbury's; Japanese
> tourists! They were running about trying to get
> the best views of them with their cameras.
Maybe the Japanese tourists were taking pictures of them because they could not believe how ugly they were and wanted to show their friends back home what British people will put up with in the name of revenue collection and 'security'? Maybe they could not believe how much surveillance goes on?
There are quite a fewpictures of them posted on Flickr, but I am not sure you can make a logical connection between taking a picture of something and saying that person likes what they are taking a photograph of. For instance, the police take innumerable pictures (and video) of those taking part in lawful, peaceful demonstrations, but I am not sure it is because they like what they are taking pictures of.
My comments were based upon watching them hopping from one side of the road to the other in gleefull chatter a'snapping as they went, but I grant you it might well have been hysterics brought on by mounting disquiet. How do you recognise Swedish tourists Janefs? Just curious.
Here's the latest info we've received from TfL. They also sent me a jpg a map of the mini-zone, but I can't work out how to insert a picture, happy to post if if someone can tell me how.
Researcher for Valerie Shawcross AM
Assembly Member for Lambeth & Southwark
Dear Ms Colley
Apologies for the delay in getting back to you. To answer your further queries:
There will be 20 beacons put up to form the trials area in Southwark and you can see the locations of these in the map attached. The beacons will be tailored to the width of the road they have to monitor: the length of the 'outrigger' (the horizontal part of the pole) will be shortened accordingly. The poles that have been erected on Tooley St and Borough High St have the largest outrigger planned (6m) but it is envisaged that outrigger lengths will vary between 1m to 6m, with the majority at the smaller end of the scale.
Re. the aesthetics: currently there is no intention to provide a forum for residents to contribute their views as this is purely a technology trial at this stage. TfL does of course attach considerable importance to the street scene and significant weight is being given to aesthetics in the selection of the tag & beacon supplier chosen to install the further 18 sites. TfL are also encouraging further developments to reduce the size of the equipment and it is envisaged that progress would be made in this area before any wider roll-out of this equipment.
The Congestion Charging Trials team's main liaison person at Southwark Council is Andrew Downes, Streetscene and Transport Infrastructure Manager. At the request of Southwark Council, the Trials team presented the plans for the trial at Bermondsey Community Council on 6th April and at Borough and Bankside Community Council on 9th May and welcomed any feedback. Currently there are no further plans to consult residents.
If you have any further enquiries, we look forward to hearing from you.
> But they might be Finnish? Or Icelandic? T'was
> only asked in jest.
I appreciate it was asked in jest. But the point still stands, since language is probably the biggest give-away. How do you know your 'Japanese' photographers were from Japan and not from Korea or China?