- The Washington Times - Tuesday, March 10, 2009


D.C. street sweepers rigged with cameras officially began taking pictures of illegally parked vehicles Monday.

The camera-equipped sweepers originally were scheduled to hit the streets in October, but the Department of Public Works delayed their arrival to install equipment, train drivers and test the ticketing process, officials said recently.

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Chicago already has a similar pilot project, and San Francisco has a similar program with municipal buses.

Sweeper drivers in the District must pause the camera when making a turn or on a street not scheduled for cleaning, so pictures are not taken of cars parked legally.

The District has issued only warning notices to motorists until now. Two camera-equipped sweepers on different routes took pictures of license plates - resulting in 1,766 warnings from Aug. 4 through Oct. 21.

The cameras generate $30 tickets. The cameras cost $37,000 each.

The system, known as SweeperCam, uses photo-light sensing, character recognition and Global Positioning System technology to spot parking scofflaws and fix their locations.

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