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.
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
NHTSA, Traffic Safety Facts, 2018 https://crashstats.nhtsa.dot.gov/Api/Public/ViewPublication/812932
Vision Zero Network, https://visionzeronetwork.org/wp-content/uploads/2018/05/What-is-VZ_FIN…
FHWA, Speed Safety Cameras https://safety.fhwa.dot.gov/provencountermeasures/speed-safety-cameras…
NHTSA, System Analysis of Automated Speed Enforcement Implementation, April 2016 https://www.nhtsa.gov/sites/nhtsa.gov/files/812257_systemanalysisase.pdf
NTSB, Reducing Speeding-Related Crashes Involving Passenger Vehicles, July 2017, Page 41. https://www.ntsb.gov/safety/safety-studies/Documents/ss1701.pdf
TRB, NCHRP Report 729, Automated Enforcement for Speeding and Red Light Running https://safety.fhwa.dot.gov/speedmgt/ref_mats/fhwasa1304/resources2/27%…
IACP, 2002 Resolutions Adopted at the 109th Annual Conference, https://www.theiacp.org/sites/default/files/2018-08/2002Resolutions.pdf
NSA, Aggressive Driving/Speeding Laws & Data, https://www.sheriffs.org/trafficsafety/speeding/laws
NSC, Position/Policy Statement, Support of Automated Enforcement, Sept. 2008 https://www.nsc.org/getattachment/1967cd09-0e5a-4ee5-a7ee-e276fc0a7fbe/…
GHSA, 2018-2019 Policies and Priorities, Automated Enforcement, Page 37, https://www.ghsa.org/sites/default/files/2018-09/policies18.pdf
IIHS, Automated Enforcement Checklist, May 2021 https://www.iihs.org/media/431e551b-3f64-4591-8e30-ad35a069f41f/cF4n4g/…
CDC, Automated Red-Light Enforcement https://www.cdc.gov/motorvehiclesafety/calculator/factsheet/redlight.html
CDC, Automated Speed-Camera Enforcement https://www.cdc.gov/motorvehiclesafety/calculator/factsheet/speed.html
AAA Foundation for Traffic Safety https://newsroom.aaa.com/2021/05/safety-groups-create-automated-enforce…
Advocates for Highway & Auto Safety https://saferoads.org/2021/05/06/safety-groups-create-automated-enforce…
NACTO, Automated Enforcement https://nacto.org/publication/city-limits/the-right-speed-limits/corrid…
Vera, Non-Police Responses to Traffic Safety, Aug. 2021 https://www.vera.org/downloads/publications/alternatives-to-policing-tr…
Vision Zero Network, Success Depends on Managing Speed for Safety https://visionzeronetwork.org/resources/safety-over-speed/