Drivers on a main route into Edinburgh are to tracked by Scotland’s first urban average speed cameras, Police Scotland announced today.
Cameras will cover a one-mile section of the A7 Old Dalkeith Road, south of the Cameron Toll roundabout.
They are being installed following six collisions on the 30mph stretch between 2012 and 2015, which included two deaths.
Construction starts tomorrow and the cameras are due to go live within weeks.
They will operate in both directions, measuring speeds between the Western Toyota garage, just south of the roundabout, and a point between Walter Scott Avenue and Kingston Avenue.
It is understood there will be no intermediate cameras, and police said traffic was usually free flowing with “not a lot of tailbacks”.
Officers said the cameras were being used because of the difficulty of safely siting either fixed cameras or mobile cameras vans, on the route, including because of narrow pavements and lack of suitable parking spots.
However motoring group IAM RoadSmart said such cameras were not the answer in urban areas.
Average speed camera systems operate on the A9 between Dunblane and Inverness, and on the A77 in Ayrshire.
Scotsman.com revealed in March that they will also operate on the A90 between Dundee and Stonehaven from this autumn.
Cameras have also been routinely deployed during major roadworks on trunk roads, such as around the Forth Road Bridge during construction of the Queensferry Crossing, and during upgrading of the M74 in North Lanarkshire.
A Police Scotland spokesman said: “Following a national site selection exercise, an average speed camera system has been agreed as the most effective and appropriate intervention.
“In the three years 2013-15, there were six injury collisions on this stretch of Old Dalkeith Road alone, including three resulting in serious injury or a fatality.
“Speed surveys have also been carried out which indicate speed is a continuing concern with a high proportion of vehicles travelling above the speed limit.”
Inspector Vinnie Fisher, Police Scotland’s east safety camera unit manager, said: “Having identified a high casualty rate on Old Dalkeith Road and having ruled out other potential remedial measures, we considered all the tactical options available to combat the excessive speed on the road.
“Following analysis and discussions with colleagues in City of Edinburgh Council and the Scottish Safety Camera Programme office, it was agreed an average speed camera system would be the most effective intervention in making the road safer for everyone.
“We are confident the system will have a noticeable effect on driver behaviour and the speeds of vehicles on this stretch of road, with a resultant reduction in casualties.”
City Council transport convener Lesley Hinds said: “Speeding continues to be an issue at this location, with several collisions, including one fatal crash, in the last few years.
“We therefore welcome Safety Cameras Scotland’s decision to install safety cameras here.
“Having worked with them to explore the most suitable measures for reducing collisions on this stretch of road, we agree with their assessment that an average speed camera system will be most effective in helping drivers to keep within the 30mph speed limit.”
Neil Greig, policy and research director of IAM RoadSmart, said: “If, as Police Scotland say, they have exhausted every other avenue to address speed related crashes on this route then we can see that average speed cameras may work as something of a last resort.
“They will be effective in reducing reduce illegal speeding, as we know compliance with such systems is nearly always 100 per cent.
“They will do nothing, however, to make cyclists or pedestrians feel any safer, as that would require complete re-engineering of the road to provide proper segregated facilities.
“They are also unlikely to impact on drink driving, mobile phone use or extreme behaviour linked to theft of vehicles.
“For that reason, we cannot really see average speed camera as being the solution to general urban road safety issues in Scotland.”