Vision Zero Policy Spotlight

Automated Enforcement: Speed and Red Light Enforcement Cameras

Louisville Metro is implementing the action items from the Vision Zero Louisville Safety Report. As the name suggests, the “Vision Zero” campaign acknowledges that zero is the only justifiable target for roadway fatalities.   The vision may be profound; however, at the core of Vision Zero is the understanding that all who use our transportation system are human, and all humans make mistakes. With these flaws in mind we must be proactive in identifying risks and redesigning our roadways so that collisions no longer result in a fatality or life altering injury. 

Managing vehicle speed is critical to the Vision Zero strategy. Speeding kills close to 10,000 people each year in the U.S. – on par with drunk driving – yet the act of speeding does not carry the same social consequences as drunk driving. One method of prioritizing safe streets is to slow vehicles through the use of automated enforcement or safety cameras. Speed safety cameras have been named a “Proven Safety Countermeasure” by FHWA. This form of automated enforcement are an effective, reliable technology to supplement traditional methods of enforcement, engineering measures, and education to alter the social norms of speeding.


Under current state law, the use of this type of technology is prohibited in Kentucky. State legislators have proposed a bill to change this. If passed, Louisville would join communities throughout 22 other states in the U.S. to utilize speed safety cameras to encourage drivers to maintain safe speeds.


Speed is often the greatest contributing factor to the survival rate of traffic collisions. The ability to use these tools, especially in high priority areas (I.E. school zones, work zones, areas with high pedestrian numbers, and areas with extensive crash rates) can greatly reduce fatal and serious injury crashes. Furthermore, their use does not impose any greater restrictions on roadway users and reduces the excessive burden placed on traffic officers in enforcing existing laws.

Automated enforcement is one of a plethora of tools that can be used to reduce speeding and reach our Vision Zero goal. Other tools that Louisville Metro is working to implement include:


  • Engineering solutions to improve the geometry of the roadway which will reduce the risk of a crash and/or reduce the severity of crashes.
  • Education programs to inform drivers, pedestrians, bicyclists, and other types of road users how to stay safe and look out for others while using the transportation network.
  • Emergency services improvements to decrease emergency response times and improve medical care to prevent injuries from becoming more serious.
fatality rate vs. speed


Over 150 communities across the United States have implemented speed safety camera enforcement. Many of these cities have experienced reductions in excessive speeding and a decrease in severe and fatal traffic injury collisions. Examples of these successful programs include: 

•    Washington, D.C. experienced a 73% reduction in traffic fatalities, a decrease from 71 deaths in 2001 to 19 deaths in 2012 and a 34% decrease in traffic related injuries. Whereas one in three drivers were travelling 10 mph above the speed limit, when cameras were introduced the rate of speeders dropped to just one in 40 drivers.
•    Portland, OR reported a 46% reduction in traffic fatalities from an average of 56.8 annual traffic deaths before the program's implementation to an average of 30.5 traffic related deaths as the program has grown. Average and 85th percentile speeds also declined at speed safety camera locations. There was 85% decrease in the number of drivers exceeding the speed limit by 10 mph or more.
•    Seattle, WA had an overall calming effect on the city reporting a 4% reduction in the average speed of a speeding violation in miles per hour above the posted speed limit
•    In New York City, NY in zones where cameras were installed, total crashes declined by 15%, total injuries by 17%, fatalities by 55%, and speeding by 70%. Daily violations at typical camera locations declined over time as drivers started to be mindful of the cameras and drive more responsibly. NYC DOT also found that between 2014-2016, 81% of drivers did not receive more than one violation, further evidence that the cameras created an overall behavioral change.
•    Denver, CO has curbed excessive speeding by 21% at speed safety camera locations.
•    Montgomery, MD experienced a 59% decrease in the likelihood of a driver exceeding the speed limit by more than 10 mph and reported a reduction in fatal or incapacitating injuries by 49% on roads with speed safety cameras.

Agencies that support the use of automated speed safety cameras or red light cameras:

AAA Foundation for Traffic Safety

Advocates for Highway and Auto Safety

CDC: Centers for Disease Control and Prevention

FHWA: U.S. Department of Transportation, Federal Highway Administration

GHSA: Governors Highway Safety Association

IACP: International Association of Chiefs of Police

IIHS: Insurance Institute for Highway Safety

NACTO: National Association of City Transportation Officials

NHTSA: U.S. Department of Transportation, National Highway Traffic Safety Administration

NSA: National Sheriffs’ Association

NSC: National Safety Council

NTSB: National Transportation Safety Board

TRB: Transportation Research Board of the National Academies

Vera Institute of Justice

Vision Zero Network


Automated Enforcement Checklist (created by multiple safety groups) in May 2021

IACP Traffic Safety Resource Guide, October 2020

Livable Streets: Traffic Enforcement + Automated Enforcement

NCSL: National Conference of State Legislatures, Automated Speed Enforcement Overview

Reducing Speeding-Related Crashes Involving Passenger Vehicles

SFMTA: Speed Safety Cameras

Taming Speed for Safety: Portland Case Study

United States Department of Transportation Speed Management Plan


NHTSA, Traffic Safety Facts, 2018

Vision Zero Network,…

FHWA, Speed Safety Cameras…

NHTSA, System Analysis of Automated Speed Enforcement Implementation, April 2016

NTSB, Reducing Speeding-Related Crashes Involving Passenger Vehicles, July 2017, Page 41.

TRB, NCHRP Report 729, Automated Enforcement for Speeding and Red Light Running…

IACP, 2002 Resolutions Adopted at the 109th Annual Conference,

NSA, Aggressive Driving/Speeding Laws & Data,

NSC, Position/Policy Statement, Support of Automated Enforcement, Sept. 2008…

GHSA, 2018-2019 Policies and Priorities, Automated Enforcement, Page 37,

IIHS, Automated Enforcement Checklist, May 2021…

CDC, Automated Red-Light Enforcement

CDC, Automated Speed-Camera Enforcement

AAA Foundation for Traffic Safety…

Advocates for Highway & Auto Safety…

 NACTO, Automated Enforcement…

Vera, Non-Police Responses to Traffic Safety, Aug. 2021…

Vision Zero Network, Success Depends on Managing Speed for Safety



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