SPECS is a speed enforcement system, which uses linked Automatic Number Plate Recognition (ANPR) cameras to monitor the average speed of traffic over a section of road, or network of roads. It has been used in the UK to control speeds on routes with a collision history and at major roadworks since achieving UK Home Office Type Approval (HOTA) in 1999.
Each SPECS camera continuously captures images of vehicles as they pass through the field of view. The number plates are read using ANPR and, when the same vehicle is recorded by any other camera connected to the system, the average speed of the vehicle is calculated over the known baseline distance. If this speed exceeds the Police threshold, an offence record is created and violation images and data are logged.
Cameras can be installed in front or rear-facing orientation and violations can be recorded between multiple locations and multiple lanes within the system.
Each camera unit has an infrared ANPR camera and an infrared illuminator, which enables number plates to be read, regardless of light or weather conditions. A colour day/night overview camera is also included, which enables overview images to be captured in daylight and in most street lit environments. Infrared floodlights can be installed where street lighting is not available and visible lighting is undesirable, making overview image capture possible in complete darkness.
Temporary SPECS installations are used by highways contractors to manage traffic speeds through roadworks where narrow lanes and contraflows affect safety.
Permanent SPECS installations are used by the Police, Local Authorities and Strategic Highways Authorities to improve safety and to encourage smoother traffic flows, amongst other benefits.