Paying tollgate is impossible to see on Google Maps

Written by Staff Writer


(CNN) — Shorter than a football pitch, Singapore’s Changi Airport attracts an estimated 70 million passengers a year.

But behind its glossy facade lies the most photographed site in Asia, the Lekki tollgate in the west of the island nation.

More than a dozen CCTV cameras and fixed-position road sensors monitor the road at all times. But only around half of the captured footage is examined for evidence by the police before the case is closed, a team from Australia’s RMIT University has revealed.

That number is largely due to the entrance gate’s location. While its regular gateways are usually near the outer edges of Lekki to ensure security on at least two sides, the entrance to the new tollgate — the world’s longest — is placed in the middle of the road to avoid parking congestion and traffic jams.

However, once inside the tollgate, there’s still a gap in a video recorded from a camera positioned on the first row of the gate’s interior facing the traffic on two sides.

That footage only exists in the open for a very short time — less than a minute — because of how motorists drive through the toll. The opposite side of the road gets caught in the junction between the direction of the main entry and exit gate and the way traffic is flowing.

Why is it so hard to see?

By constructing a totally closed entry and exit gate, authorities are able to screen surveillance video of traffic. Singapore’s Ministry of Public Works

“There’s a gap where the closed-circuit camera angle lies in between the trucks coming in and the traffic patterns exiting at the exit,” says an RMIT University spokesperson.

Despite being virtually impossible to detect until after a vehicle has crossed over, the experts also noted that traffic around the original Lekki tollway may not always be spotted by the camera system due to the increased nighttime and cloud cover.

Most experts agree that the new entrance gate was constructed to discourage motorists from parking in and around the Lekki interchange to avoid paying the $6-per-passenger toll, which is the highest in the world.

“The extensive video analytics technology used to analyse CCTV feeds and schedule the operation of the new toll gate could also be an attempt to deter traffic congestion around the Lekki interchange due to the costs involved in paying tolls,” said the RMIT University report.

Ultimately, that means investigators have a limited amount of time to review CCTV footage to gather evidence before deciding whether or not to close the case, notes the team.

The study also said the footage likely does not reflect a clear picture of when any vehicles entered the tollgate as there are also many long shots of the entrance that fail to capture vehicles entering and exiting the road.

“High-resolution and multi-screen video analytics are available to capture vehicle registration plates and other license plate identifiers and identify individuals and vehicles from high-quality images, but surveillance cameras could have been used instead,” the team added.

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