One year after the start of issuing tickets, preliminary data from the City of Toronto’s Automated Speed Enforcement (ASE) program demonstrates a positive impact on driver behaviour where the speed cameras were placed, pointing to increased compliance and a reduction in the incidents of speeding vehicles.
According to preliminary data from an ongoing evaluation study conducted by The Hospital for Sick Children (SickKids) on the effectiveness of the program, the number of vehicles travelling in excess of the posted speed limit decreased at the first round of locations during the July to November 2020 ticketing period, compared to the period when there were no ASE devices prior to 2019.
For example, the percentage of speeding vehicles in 40 km/h speed limit zones dropped from 49 per cent in the period prior to the installation of the devices in 2019 to 28 per cent at the end of the ticketing period at the first round of locations in 2020. The percentage of speeding vehicles in 30 km/h speed limit zones also dropped from 55 per cent to 44 per cent.
Similarly, 51 per cent of vehicle traffic was travelling in excess of the posted speed limit during the warning period in the first half of 2020 at the first round of locations compared to 36 per cent during the ticketing period from July to November 2020.
Early results also indicate that the average excess speed was reduced from 18 km/h to 6 km/h in 40 km/h speed limit zones and from 12 km/h to 9 km/h in 30 km/h speed limit zones.
During the first year of enforcement, from July 6, 2020 to July 5, 2021, the City’s 50 ASE devices issued a total of 227,322 tickets to vehicles travelling in excess of the posted speed limit. One vehicle was caught 27 times by three cameras over the course of the year.
The 50 ASE devices are installed near schools in Community Safety Zones. Sites are selected primarily based on data that indicate where speed and collision challenges exist. Each ward has two ASE devices that capture and record images of vehicles travelling in excess of the posted speed limit. Signage has been installed in advance of all ASE locations so that motorists are aware of their presence.
In May, the last month of enforcement at the second round of locations, the ASE devices issued a total of 6,564 tickets with the device on Scarborough Golf Club Road north of Lawrence Avenue East issuing the most tickets at 2,328, or 35 per cent of all tickets. There were 277 repeat offenders. The number of tickets in May is comparatively lower because the speed cameras were in the process of being rotated to the third round of locations.
All 50 devices started enforcement at the third round of locations at the beginning of June to help reduce speeding in more areas with safety concerns, encourage a wide-ranging deterrent effect and raise public awareness about the need to slow down and obey posted speed limits. Warning signs have been posted at all new locations to warn drivers in advance.
In June, the first month of enforcement at the third round of locations, the ASE devices issued a total of 26,566 tickets with the device on Greenwood Avenue south of Glebeholme Boulevard issuing the most tickets at 3,729, or 14 per cent of all tickets. There were 2,445 repeat offenders. Enforcement data for July will be available in the coming weeks.
Devices are expected to start enforcement at the fourth round of locations in November.
The total payable fine amount includes a set fine, which is determined by Schedule D under the Provincial Offences Act, a victim fine surcharge and applicable court costs. ASE tickets do not incur any demerit points and do not affect a person’s driving record.
Following delays caused by the COVID-19 pandemic, the City has also begun retroactively processing Part III offences for excessive speeding incidents captured by the ASE devices. Excessive speeding are instances where a vehicle has exceeded the speed limit by 50 km/h or more. Under provincial regulations, there is no Set Fine for charges related to excessive speeding. Instead, a summons will be served to the registered vehicle owner to appear before a Justice of the Peace.
To date, 103 Part III charges have been laid since the start of enforcement on July 6, 2020. The highest excessive speed detected was 137 km/h in a 50 km/h speed limit zone on McCowan Road north of Kenhatch Boulevard. The highest number of Part III charges was 22, captured by the device that was placed on Ellesmere Road east of Mondeo Drive during the second round of locations between December 2020 and May 2021.
The ASE program aims to increase road safety, reduce speeding and raise public awareness about the need to slow down and obey posted speed limits. It is designed to work in tandem with other Vision Zero methods and strategies, including engineering measures, education initiatives and traditional police enforcement.
More information about the program, how to settle fees and a map of all current and planned locations are available at toronto.ca/ASE.
“One year after the implementation of Automated Speed Enforcement we can clearly see this program that we fought hard for is effective and efficient in its goal of reducing speeding and helping make our streets safer for all. It’s clear that when these cameras go up, drivers slow down. We are doing everything we can to improve road safety and keep our streets safe for everyone. Automated speed enforcement is just one of many programs we will continue to use along with the increased road safety enforcement efforts by Toronto Police.”
– Mayor John Tory
“Automated Speed Enforcement is a data-driven Vision Zero measure that’s been proven to reduce the incidents of speeding where the cameras are placed. The preliminary results of the evaluation study by The Hospital for Sick Children (SickKids) indicate the cameras are making our streets safer for all road users. These early findings are in line with the experiences of many jurisdictions in North America and around the world where speed cameras have been deployed with great success.”
– Councillor Jennifer McKelvie (Scarborough-Rouge Park), Chair of the Infrastructure and Environment Committee
“Our preliminary evaluation of the effectiveness of the Automated Speed Enforcement program has shown significant and sustained reductions in excessive vehicle speeds around our schools. The proportion of cars speeding has dropped, compliance increased, and the number of egregious speeders has become smaller. Speed reduction reduces both the probability of a collision, and the severity of injury, for pedestrians. This is an important step in achieving the ultimate vision of no road deaths, and no serious injuries in Toronto.”
– Andrew Howard, Interim Head, Division of Orthopaedic Surgery and Senior Scientist, Child Health Evaluative Sciences, The Hospital for Sick Children (SickKids)
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