Bids For Chicago Speed Camera Program Due Monday
The original bid deadline was August 9th, but was extended three times until the September 10th deadline was finalized.
It seems questions from potential vendors regarding the city’s Request for Proposal (RFP) were so voluminous that the city felt the need to extend the deadline to address the several hundred questions which were asked.
“There were 200 of them,” said Chicago Department of Transportation spokesperson Pete Scales. “It took time to answer them. We’re just giving them more time because there were so many questions to answer.”
According to American Traffic Solutions (ATS), spokesperson Charles Territo the RFP for Chicago’s speed camera system was a very complex one and deadline delays are normal.
“It’s a very complicated RFP,” explains Territo. “This happens all the time. RFP extensions are common and meant to give vendors more time to respond.
Territo confirmed ATS, one of the nation’s largest automated camera enforcement companies in the nation, will be submitting a bid by Monday.
A great many of the questions focused on the difficult proposition of the vendor’s camera system successfully issuing speed violations in a school zone. According to the city’s RFP, during school hours (7 AM to 4 PM) cameras must be able to identify a juvenile within the vicinity of the intersection, then be able determine if drivers are exceeding the 20 mph speed limit.
State law calls for the 20 mph school zone speed limit to only be enforced when children are present. Otherwise the speed limit would be 30 mph or whatever is posted.
Consider the difficulty of successfully determining who is or is not under the age of 18 with a video image. If a child is identified, then the speed limit immediately drops from 30 to 20 mph, and the automated camera enforcement system must be able to enforce the 20 mph speed limit for the duration the time a child or children are present. Then, when the child or children leave the field of view, the speed limit then jumps back to 30 mph and the camera system must enforce at that speed.
Any drivers who do not see the child present and don’t slow down, or see the child but don’t slow down fast enough, could be ticketed–even if the driver was going the speed limit just a split second before.
Barnet Faget, an Illinois based traffic safety expert for the National Motorists Association and critic of automated enforcement is skeptical.
“There has never been a system of this type installed and operated anywhere in this country or any where else in the world before,” says Fagel. “The city nor the camera vendors do not have the technology or experience to carry it out. But Chicago motorists will be the ones paying for experimentation, testing, errors and mistakes.”
Once the bids are opened and reviewed, several of the vendors will be asked to participate in pilot programs so the city can see each vendor’s technology first hand.
UPDATED 9/10/12 @ 10 PM: with clarifying information and quote.