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Toronto's speed cameras got people to slow down
Aug. 25, 2021
Liz Braun

Speed cameras work.

A news release from the City of Toronto states that the first year of the Automated Speed Enforcement (ASE) program is a success -- the devices have led to compliance and reduced speeding.

Wherever the speed cameras were placed around the city, driving behaviour changed for the better.

According to an ongoing evaluation study conducted by The Hospital for Sick Children (SickKids) on the effectiveness of the program, the number of drivers speeding 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).

A marked drop in numbers of speeding vehicles was noted in areas where the posted speed limit was 40 km/h; numbers of speeding vehicles went from 49% with no devices in place to only 28% at the end of the ticketing period (at the first locations in 2020.)

The number of speeding vehicles in 30 km/h speed limit areas also dropped by 11%.

During the warning period at the start of 2020, more than half of vehicle traffic (51%) was regularly exceeding the posted speed limits; during the ticketing period between July and November of 2020, that dropped to 36%.

Even habitual speeders slowed down, driving only 6 km/h over the limit instead of the 18 km/h over the limit they usually clock.

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 speeders.

The machines are a sort of psychological deterrent, but they don’t work for everyone: one vehicle was caught 27 times by three different cameras over that year.

The speed cameras were placed near schools and Community Safety Zones, and particularly where there have been issues in the past with speeding cars or collisions.

Each ward in Toronto has two ASE devices. Motorists were warned with signs and an awareness campaign before the ASE devices were put in place.

As Mayor John Tory summed up: “It’s clear that when these cameras go up, drivers slow down.”

He called the program “effective and efficient” in its goal of reducing speeding and helping make the streets safer for all.

The City of Toronto website offers a map with all speed trap device locations.