Automatic Number Plate Recognition

Automatic Number Plate Recognition (ANPR) is one of many intelligent transport technologies Transport Scotland uses to help manage the trunk roads. 

ANPR camera

Our Intelligent Transport Systems (ITS) are operated and managed on our behalf by Traffic Scotland.  The information collected by the ANPR cameras is used by Traffic Scotland to deliver reliable journey time information to drivers on the trunk road network.

We use the data from ANPR cameras to make journeys more reliable, improve strategic transport connections, encourage a shift from private cars and improving safety.

The information is particularly useful to drivers when there are incidents or delays on the trunk road network.

Data collection is a fundamental requirement of providing high quality travel information to drivers.

ANPR cameras record the Vehicle Registration Numbers (VRN) of passing traffic. These are then encrypted at a computer outstation and stored alongside the related time stamp and camera location.

By matching the encrypted VRN between camera locations, a journey time can be derived between those two ANPR locations. This information is then collated by the Traffic Scotland Control Centre, and will be used in the future to inform drivers using Variable Message Signs (VMS).

The data collected is retained for a limited time before being overwritten. The retention time is typically no greater than one hour as this allows adequate time for journey times to be calculated between sites. Care is taken to ensure this process is fully compliant with the Data Protection Act.

The camera system transmits:

  • encrypted VRN
  • time / date stamp
  • location ID

The camera system does not transmit:

  • images of the driver
  • images of the vehicle
  • images of the licence plate
  • the ‘original’ number plate characters.

Transport Scotland operates an ANPR camera system on parts of the trunk road network. This system currently comprises 26 cameras at 15 locations,including:

  • M77
  • A726
  • M8

In the future, we hope to provide a journey time service, which may utilise ANPR and other technologies to provide accurate journey time information.