Baltimore City officials announced Wednesday that a speed and red light camera program will return by the end of the month.  But in a much smaller version than the program that was taken offline more than three years ago.

The prior program had more than 160 speed and red light cameras; it was one of the largest programs in North America.

Baltimore Speed Camera

The city plans on putting 36 cameras online: 10 red light cameras, 10 fixed speed cameras, 10 portable speed cameras and six commercial vehicle cameras.  A specific date for when the cameras will come online will be announced soon.

Mayor Catherine Pugh said the city will generate revenue from the cameras – about $8 million for the first year – but the overall goal is to keep citizens safe.

“Do we want people speeding through our streets? No,” she said.  “Do we want folks running through red lights? Absolutely not.”

The city will pay three separate companies to administer the program.  American Traffic Solutions will receive $5.4 million to administer the speed camera program; Conduent State and Local Solutions will be paid nearly $4.2 million to run the red light and commercial vehicle cameras; and MRA Digital will get $80,000 to calibrate the cameras.

Conduent was spun off from Xerox earlier this year.  Xerox administered the speed and red light camera program until 2012 when a Baltimore Sun investigation found errors with some of the cameras.  The errors persisted under a new vendor, Brekford Corp.

The city ultimately shut the program down at the end of 2013, paying Brekford $600,000 to get out of a five-year contract.

Bill Tente, senior product manager with Conduet, said the company will be using different technology for the cameras this time, a more focused radar compared to what they were using previously.

“This can pick out individual vehicles across a whole roadway,” Tente said, adding that the camera would only need to see if the vehicle drives over the line and into the intersection.

The new program will be overseen by Robert Liberati, a former Prince George’s County police commander.

Unlike the former program, the new program will have multiple layers of review between police and the city transportation department.  In addition there will be an ombudsman that will be an intermediary between the court and someone who receives a citation.

Unlike previously, there will be no “bounty” program that allows the vendor to receive additional money based on the number of tickets accrued.  Such programs were outlawed by the General Assembly in 2014.  

The city will essentially be renting the equipment for the new program, paying the vendor for each camera used per month. Previously, vendors operated city-owned cameras. Those will now be removed and possibly auctioned off.