Town purchases two new traffic radar devices

June 17, 2021   ·   0 Comments

By Sam Odrowski

Orangeville Council voted to purchase two Black Cat units for the Dufferin OPP during their regular meeting late last month, in an effort to collect better traffic data throughout town.

Dufferin OPP detachment commander, Insp. Terry Ward noted that there’s been an increase in traffic complaints within the Town of Orangeville as of late, but analytics are needed so they can determine where the most serious problems lie and carry out targeted enforcement.

“As we know, by someone standing on the side of the road, a vehicle going by at 40 or 50 kilometers an hour can look like it’s going at an excessive speed,” he said.

To help determine where the Dufferin OPP need to allocate their resources, Insp. Ward and Jim Sheehan of Northline Canada spoke to Orangeville Council about utilizing the Black Cat device.

“It’s a radar device that’s placed surreptitiously in a neighbourhood, in the community, that tracks speeds and gives us hard analytics to say, yes, we have a problem, or no, we don’t have a problem,” said Insp. Ward.

“If there is a problem in that area with speeding, we then can look at putting resources towards it. As you know, in the Town of Orangeville, we have a limited supply of resources on a day to day. Our calls for service are increasing, which ties up officers, which limits the amount of time we can throw at radar and traffic enforcement.”

Through the collection of hard data, the Dufferin OPP can then plan their traffic enforcement accordingly.

Jim Sheehan of Northline Canada, who sells the Black Cat radar devices, said they’re generally setup in one area for a seven-day study and the data collected provides an accurate snapshot of what the traffic dynamics are like in that area.

Through the information collected, OPP can be informed as to what the best times are for traffic enforcement.

Following targeted enforcement and increased signage or an education campaign, police can then redeploy the Black Cat device to see if driving habits improve along a particular street.

The Black Cat unit itself is quite discreet, roughly the size of a small toaster and costs roughly $3,600 each. For setup, it is often strapped to a pole, about six or seven feet high, out of the average person’s reach.

“I think it’s exciting to see technology like this that can be put in into the field and collecting data to make the policing decisions,” noted Mayor Sandy Brown.

Coun. Lisa Post was also very excited about the new technology’s potential for the Town of Orangeville.

“I would argue that traffic concerns and community safety is probably the number one email that I get from our residents and I think that most of my fellow councillors would agree with that, so I think this looks wonderful,” she remarked.

Orangeville’s general manager of infrastructure, Doug Jones noted that an additional Black Cat unit for Town staff should be a considered in the Town’s 2022 Budget, as they would be a great tool for collecting data, doing traffic counts, and carrying out analysis on local roads.

However, in the meantime, Jones said Town staff can work with the Dufferin OPP to borrow on of the two newly purchased units as needed.

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