Automated speed enforcement is a safety method developed to reduce excessive speeding. The system utilizes a fixed or a mobile camera and additional equipment to detect vehicles passing by at high speeds. This technology features a lot of benefits including:
- Most drivers' behavior instinctively changes due to the presence of the system.
- It operates in locations where police personnel cannot easily access.
- It enforces the speed limit impartially and consistently without additional resources and staff.
The study was conducted by researchers from the University of British Columbia. They utilized data from automated photo enforcement systems between 2013 and 2015 in the city of Edmonton, Canada. Their findings showed a reduction both in vehicle collisions and in criminal incidents in the area the system was utilized.
According to the researchers, the automated speed enforcement system prevents criminals from committing an illegal action. “Our results prove that automated speed enforcement, which uses cameras to detect and capture images of vehicles exceeding the speed limit, reduces collisions as well as discourages crime. People intending to commit crime are usually deterred by the presence of authority. Since criminals also tend to show unsafe driving behaviors, you can expect to see fewer collisions due to the presence of automated speed enforcement,” Shewkar Ibrahim, leader of the research and traffic safety engineer for the City of Edmonton, said.
The research team also developed a tool that can be utilized to determine where new automated speed enforcement systems should be installed. “Using this tool, we can see how many collisions can be prevented by spending a certain number of hours at a given location. We can then assign resources to where they are most needed,” Mrs. Ibrahim stated.
In the future, the system can fully replace manned enforcement, according to study's co-author, Tarek Sayed, UBC professor of civil engineering and Canada Research Chair in Transportation Safety and Advanced Mobility. “Automated enforcement has always been a contentious issue, and so having this evidence to show its dual benefits will hopefully promote its use as a tool for improving community safety. This is the first study to show that automated enforcement is absolutely effective in reducing both collisions and crimes,” Prof. Sayed stated.