speed camera toronto

Toronto speed enforcement cameras are actually causing drivers to slow down

Toronto is notorious for having roads filled with reckless, speeding drivers, sometimes resulting in deadly consequences, but the city's speed enforcement cameras are making a dent in the issue.

The City of Toronto published preliminary findings on the effectiveness of its Automated Speed Enforcement program Tuesday, and the data shows that the number of vehicles travelling over 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.

"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," reads a news release from the city.

According to the findings, compiled in an ongoing evaluation study conducted by The Hospital for Sick Children (SickKids), the percentage of vehicles speeding in zones with 40 km/h speed limits at the first round of locations dropped from 49 per cent in 2019 (before cameras were installed) to 28 per cent at the end of the ticketing period in 2020.

The percentage of speeding vehicles in 30 km/h speed limit zones also dropped from 55 per cent to 44 per cent, according to the city.

And during the warning period in the first half of 2020 at the first round of locations, 51 per cent of vehicle traffic was found to be travelling in excess of the posted speed limit, 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," says the city.

The city launched the enforcement program in July of 2020, and its 50 ASE devices issued a total of 227,322 tickets to speeding vehicles during its first year of operation.

One particularly reckless driver was caught speeding 27 times by three different cameras within the year.

The city's 50 ASE cameras are installed near schools in "Community Safety Zones," and they change locations every few months based on data that indicate where speeding and collisions are an issue.

The cameras began enforcement at their third round of locations in early June, and the devices issued a total of 26,566 tickets during the first month.

The device located on Greenwood Avenue south of Glebeholme Boulevard issued the most tickets, with 3,729 drivers caught speeding by this particular camera (14 per cent of all tickets). In total, there were 2,445 repeat offenders in June.

The cameras are expected to move to the fourth round of locations in November, and signage will be installed in advance to notify drivers.

"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," said Andrew Howard, a senior scientist of Child Health Evaluative Sciences at SickKids, in a statement. 

"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."

Lead photo by

City of Toronto

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