New Traffic Cameras?

21 Comments
Reads 3860

By an edhat reader

I recall the discussion a few years back when the city installed traffic sensors to assist with traffic flow. At the time folks thought the sensors were cameras. 

Recently I've noticed it appears what looks more like actual traffic/security cameras like what Caltrans uses have been added to some intersections in addition to the sensors. In the photo of the light at De La Vina and State, the devices in red are what I thought of as traffic sensors. The device in yellow is what appears to be more recently added. 

It looks more like a camera to me but I'm no expert.  If they are security cameras, does anyone know which city department monitors them?  Their existence wouldn't really bother me since security cameras are everywhere these days. I was just curious.

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RHS Jul 18, 2019 09:04 AM
New Traffic Cameras?

City traffic is among the best regulated in CA in my experience. Compared to places like Ventura>Camarrillo it is even more outstanding. So this sort of technology is great--it keeps people from running red lights and avoids collisions and keeps people calm as well. Congrats to them.

HenryHatter Jul 18, 2019 12:37 AM
New Traffic Cameras?

Santa Barbara doesn't have red light cameras (the ones that send you a $500 ticket for running the light), but in case anyone is wondering how to identify a camera used for issuing red light camera tickets, here's how. 1. Because they need to get a picture of your face, the camera facing you will usually be just 8 or 10 feet above street level, not 20 feet up on a signal arm 2. The camera facing you will include a flash gun with a big silver reflector, used to illuminate your face.

tagdes Jul 18, 2019 12:27 PM
New Traffic Cameras?

I just checked and none of the 15 Ventura red light cameras are on signal arms. They are all on separate poles 8-10' high as mentioned by HenryHatter. You can google the list which has pics or see them better on Google maps. I clearly saw 12, plus 1 that had been taken out by a collision didn't notice the last 2 but they weren't on signal arms. PitMix must be confusing the phase controller cameras which are on the arms.

PitMix Jul 18, 2019 11:11 AM
New Traffic Cameras?

The ones in Ventura are 20 ft up on the signal arms but I don't know how usual that is.

a-1571044283 Jul 17, 2019 10:03 PM
New Traffic Cameras?

Facial Recognition and License Plate readers are both coming to Santa Barbara in the very near future. Transportation Department and Police Departments are thrilled. They will be able to give tickets to anyone moving their cars out of the parking lots, track residents vs customers with the new housing planned downtown that will get parking spaces in the lots and it will be easier for parking officer's to give tickets.l and officers to find people. The technology is wild. But I worry about the City being able to track people all over town and the amount of images they will store. Big Brother is HERE.

RHS Jul 18, 2019 12:20 PM
New Traffic Cameras?

Big brother is not the government--it is private business. McDonalds is tracking cars and faces at its drive thru restaurants and changing its menu to respond to what they think these people want or have ordered in the past. They allegedly recognize the people and categorize the vehicle by age and condition. This record is continually expanded by the business and probably sold to other non-competitive companies. Your "file" is extensive and opinions and decisions about you are being made that will in fact affect your actual choices and life.

Ehdat Jul 17, 2019 09:51 PM
New Traffic Cameras?

The other devices are described in the comments, the yellow circled device is a 360 pan tilt zoom camera, that is not recording. It is accessed only via the City Traffic Engineer to monitor traffic events through out the city. They are only installed at major roads through the City. During freeway closures, construction, accidents etc.. the engineer can view the camera remotely rather than driving several miles from his office (where he might make signal adjustments to better help traffic flow) The other directional camera shown is an Iteris camera mounted at each intersection that function for video detection, and signal optimization can also be viewed remotely, but they only have a fixed view of each intersection approach and cant be zoomed down a traffic corridor. The City gets asked often for the video of crashes or crimes, but nothing is recorded, and often times nobody is watching (only when making tweaks to timing or check outages that come in on the signal hotline.) At least what somebody told me. Big brother infrastructure is super expensive, and SB is far from it, they can hardly catch a bum pissing right on State Street.

a-1571044283 Jul 17, 2019 08:51 PM
New Traffic Cameras?

The camera like objects are 1) Traffic sensors that are collecting data for traffic and traffic light patterns , no video recording at all. 2) Every Emergency vehcile has an emergency light bar. When we see it, it's time for us to get out of their way, but on each of those light bars is a tiny white strobe light kinda light. The strobe like flasher is perfectly timed so that a monitor at an intersection identifies it as an emergency vehicle and changes the light in the favor of that vehicle. Next time you see the lights, look for the white strobe like flashing light...

a-1571044283 Jul 17, 2019 11:47 AM
New Traffic Cameras?

If these cameras are installed to improve flow of traffic, based on actual traffic needs and not someone's previous estimate, then excellent. There's nothing worse than waiting at a light that's red for all waiting except the lane that's be timed to go but nobody's there.

a-1571044283 Jul 17, 2019 11:43 AM
New Traffic Cameras?

I'm pretty sure the red on the left is a sensor that allows police/fire to change the lights. The ones on the very right are traffic cams/sensors for untimed lights, but do not record (lots of laws and data requirements for cameras that actively record. The center, I'm not sure about.

tagdes Jul 17, 2019 12:46 PM
New Traffic Cameras?

Good catch 11:43, I didn't address the left one which is as you said a preemption device sensor for fire or police and it can also be a speed sensor, car counter and lane changer monitor. It is operated by a MIRT ( mobile infrared transmitter ). It requires an additional card in the controller. They have also added digital wave radar on the northbound signal on De La Vina to measure traffic volume.

tagdes Jul 17, 2019 11:40 AM
New Traffic Cameras?

The OP is mostly correct. The ones circled in red are actual cameras, not just sensors that are used for traffic control and I oversaw the installation of them at many County intersections while working there. On a new project the contractor and the inspector sit at the controller and program it by aiming the cameras into turn lanes and side streets. We viewed same on a laptop and afterwards no one watches them unless there is a problem. The one in yellow is indeed security and monitored as needed by those in charge. Monkeyboy is correct about the security cameras but as a typical complainer here very wrong about traffic timing and control. Statistics have proven that that even the call loops ( cut into the pavement ) greatly improve flow and the much more sophisticated camera program does same even more so. The cameras can see bikes that ( especially carbon fiber ) will not activate loops and watch traffic and change the phasing when needed. Watch sometime the differences with turn pockets on upper State from weekend to weekdays and even peak times as sometimes, both direction left turns go and others all green in one direction.

FredMertzEE Jul 17, 2019 12:04 PM
New Traffic Cameras?

Very helpful and interesting information. Thank you for explaining with specific details! I was always curious how these worked - I remember the days of pressure plates at stoplights and getting stuck behind someone that would stop short and not activate the light, so I would have to get out of my car and ask them to move forward.

a-1571044283 Jul 17, 2019 10:31 AM
New Traffic Cameras?

I hope they install more. If you have ever been a victim of street crime you would feel the same way. Privacy? We have no privacy.

oceandrew Jul 17, 2019 03:54 PM
New Traffic Cameras?

What privacy? You have no reasonable expectation of privacy when you're out in public.

d8vanilla Jul 17, 2019 10:24 AM
New Traffic Cameras?

I'm totally in favor of these. I TRY and follow the rules of the road, but if I end up involved in an accident, or need to dispute a stupid-invalid-ticket, I will have good options now. Totally in favor. England has them on, almost, all of their highways, and it comes in handy. especially if traffic is backed up, they can look at the camera, and dispatch needed emergency vehicles, or tow trucks etc.

monkeyboy Jul 17, 2019 09:19 AM
New Traffic Cameras?

On some of the recent SBPD requests for information, there are photos of cars that look to have been taken from this high angle. I'd guess they are passive monitoring cameras under the control of the SBPD and accessed when they are seeking suspects in a crime. They certainly don't assist in traffic control because most of the lights in this town are poorly timed and impede traffic flow. Funny how pervasive surveillance just "happens" with zero vote or input from the citizens...

a-1571044283 Jul 17, 2019 01:41 PM
New Traffic Cameras?

My experience is the traffic lights usually are well timed.

a-1571044283 Jul 17, 2019 11:55 AM
New Traffic Cameras?

Oh I feel the opposite about the timing of lights, if you are going the right speed, flow down Anacapa, Milpas, De La Vina etc is a dream!

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