Nestor to contest red light camera contract this week

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A couple of weeks ago, we posted about a red light camera company’s plan to contest the city’s contract with American Traffic Solutions Inc. (ATS). Today the Chronicle‘s Alexis Grant (with an assist from Matt Stiles) explores that topic with some interesting tidbits. First:

The Public Safety and Homeland Security Committee likely will hear not only from the Houston Police Department, which recommended Arizona-based American Traffic Solutions Inc. for the project, but also from a representative of Nestor Traffic Systems Inc., which failed to win the recommendation.

ATS Inc. is Arizona-based. Hmmmm. Arizona rings a bell, doesn’t it?

Now, here’s the really interesting piece of information:

One of Keller’s criticisms of ATS is that its system does not use collision-avoidance technology, which keeps opposing lights red to prevent other traffic from entering and intersection when the system detects an imminent violation. The systems predict violations by calculating the speed and distance of approaching vehicles.

Montalvo said city traffic engineers recommended the technology not be used because it interferes with the synchronization of traffic lights and puts the camera company in control of light cycles instead of the city.

As long as the camera company doesn’t control yellow-light times, the collision-avoidance technology sounds pretty good. Of course, some of us already have our suspicions about the city’s yellow-light times.

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Anne Linehan is a co-founder of blogHOUSTON.