In Canada, the City of Toronto has started installing Automated Speed Enforcement (ASE) cameras and signage on the city’s streets in an effort to increase road safety, reduce speeding, and raise public awareness about the need to slow down and obey posted speed limits.
Speed is a contributing factor in approximately one third of fatal collisions in Canada. More than 50% of convictions related to the Highway Traffic Act in Ontario were from speeding offences. In Toronto, Automated Speed Enforcement is intended to work in tandem with other Vision Zero methods and strategies already in place, including road redesign improvements, police enforcement, and public education. ASE is considered to be an efficient tool in the City’s Vision Zero toolbox that will see an initial total of 50 cameras installed on local, collector and arterial roads in Community Safety Zones near schools. Each ward will have two ASE cameras that will capture and record images of vehicles travelling in excess of the posted speed limit.
To warn drivers and raise awareness about ASE in advance of laying any charges, the City is also launching a 90-day public education campaign that will include issuing warning letters to speeding drivers in lieu of tickets (no response will be required). Warning signage will be installed in each ward to inform drivers as they approach an ASE camera. ASE tickets are expected to start being issued to speeding drivers in the spring of 2020 at the end of the 90-day public education campaign. If a vehicle exceeds the posted speed limit in an ASE-enforced area, a ticket will be mailed to the registered plate holder. Offenders fined, but no demerit points will be applied to a driver’s license.
The ASE camera locations were selected based on data that indicated where speed and collision challenges exist in Community Safety Zones near schools in Toronto. Additional selection criteria included planned road work, speed limits, obstructions or impediments to equipment, boulevard space and the nature of the road. The ASE initiative follows a pilot program that took place between September and December 2018. During the four-month trials, ASE units were used to collect data at a total of eight locations, with each location active for one month and included the collection of speed and volume data, 24 hours a day, seven days a week.
The Vision Zero Road Safety Plan is a comprehensive action plan that aims to reduce traffic-related fatalities and serious injuries on Toronto’s streets. With over 50 safety measures across six emphasis areas, the plan prioritises the safety of the most vulnerable road users: pedestrians, schoolchildren, seniors and cyclists.
“Speed limits are not suggestions; they are the law. Automated Speed Enforcement is a reminder for drivers in Toronto to slow down and obey the posted speed limit,” said Toronto’s Mayor, John Tory. “We have fought for years for the provincial regulations to allow Automated Speed Enforcement on our streets because we know it will save lives. I’m confident this program will not only enhance safety in our Community Safety Zones, but will also bring us closer to our Vision Zero goals.”