On the agenda for tonight’s Decatur City Commission meeting, “approval of an agreement with the City Schools of Decatur and American Traffic Solutions, Inc. for equipment, installation and maintenance of an automated traffic enforcement system to detect vehicles illegally passing school buses when children are loading and
Back on May 13th, the Decatur school board approved an agreement with American Traffic Solutions that will result in no capital expense is required by the City or CSD. Revenue from operation will be split between the city, CSD and the vendor, according to a letter from Police Chief Mike Booker to the City Manager.
How does it work? Here’s the operational section of Chief Booker’s note…
The camera system uses digital image technology with integrated violation detection. The camera assemblies are bus mounted and work in both daylight and dark Each system monitors four lanes of traffic, and includes a wireless modem and GPS unit.
While students are loading or unloading the bus, the system monitors oncoming vehicles from both directions. If a violation occurs, an eight second video is captured and three images are extracted. These show a before violation photograph, a during violation photograph, and a close up of the plate.
The images and violation data are combined into a single encoded violation file that is downloaded to the ATS office processing center. ATS reviews the images for license plate readability and transfers the video, images, and vehicle and registered owner information to the City of Decatur Police Department Each violation shows the location of the event, and a data bar also shows that the brake lights, flashing red lights,
and stop arm on the bus were extended.
The City of Decatur Police Department is responsible for reviewing all potential violations. ATS is responsible for retrieving owner information and vehicle description and printing and mailing the citation. Based on data collected from other jurisdictions with school bus safety camera enforcement programs, it is anticipated that after initial installation there will be 6-10 violations per day for ten buses. This should require less than 10 minutes a day of officer review time. As drivers become more familiar with the system, it is anticipated that violations will be reduced by 30-50%. The City Schools of Decatur may install up to 15 systems.
If approved, the system could be in place by the the beginning of the next school year in August.
Photo courtesy of CSD via WABE