Saturday, August 2, 2014

Baltimore Sun: Xerox Submitted Faulty Data on Howard County Speed Camera Program

From the Baltimore Sun:
Data submitted by Xerox State & Local Solutions for the county's four cameras repeatedly listed more vehicles speeding than there were cars on the road, according to documents reviewed by The Baltimore Sun. The 2013 data sometimes reported that 200 percent, 400 percent or even 600 percent of the number of cars that passed by a camera were speeding. 
County officials say Xerox lost some files that tracked the total number of vehicles on a road. Officials say they do not believe that any erroneous citations were issued to motorists, in part because the citations are generated by a different computer program and undergo a review process. But they say the mistakes in the data are a problem for police trying to monitor the speed camera program.
"We are demanding that this be resolved," said Howard Police Chief Gary Gardner. He said he learned about the problem from The Sun. He said the county has given Xerox until the middle of the month to submit corrected data. "Given the issues that Xerox has had in other jurisdictions, we don't want to have a black mark on our program."
Even so, some said they believe that the flawed data raises questions about the integrity of the county's speed camera program. 
"If the data smells funny, there probably is a problem," said state Del. Warren Miller, a Howard County Republican. "We really should take a more comprehensive look at the accuracy of these systems. And we shouldn't have vendors like Xerox getting rich off this system if it's not working." 
Miller said he plans to reintroduce a bill in the next General Assembly session that would require quarterly audits of all speed camera programs in Maryland.

Speed camera contractor Xerox had been booted from Baltimore City's speed camera contract in 2012.  An audit by the city (which Baltimore had attempted to keep secret) later revealed that the cameras used there had high rates of errors, including citations issued to stationary cars.

Xerox is also the speed camera contractor for Montgomery County and the Maryland SHA.