USA: Enhancing Road Safety. The Impact of Automated Speed Safety Cameras

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Automated speed safety cameras Traffic enforcement Safety benefits Red light cameras Public perception

Automated speed safety cameras proliferate across US towns, rising from 211 to 222 since 2023, fueled by federal funding. These cameras, backed by studies, reduce serious injuries and fatal crashes by up to 44%, curbing speeding violations by 14% to 65%. While crimson light cameras decline nationally, cities like Philadelphia expand programs, generating revenue and improving safety. New York City’s extensive network significantly reduces speeding incidents, while California’s pilot program showcases potential. Yet, challenges persist with public perception. Despite debates, the trend towards automated traffic enforcement promises safer roads and efficient urban mobility.

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Increasing Safety Through Automated Speed Safety Cameras

According to the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety, the number of towns that have automated speed safety cameras increased from 211 in 2023 to 222 as of March 2024. This development comes as communities are permitted to use federal funds for like technology. The 2021 infrastructure law authorized states to allocate up to 10 % of their funding for non-infrastructure projects like automatic traffic enforcement. Prior to now, national funds for speed cameras could only be used in school districts.

Studies by the National Association of City Transportation Officials show that speed cameras can reduce the rate of serious injuries and fatal crashes by up to 44 % and reduce the percentage of speeding cars by 14 % to 65 %. In a 2022 report, the U.S. Department of Transportation states that “automated speed enforcement, if deployed evenly and applied properly to roads with the highest risk of harm caused by speeding, can deliver important safety benefits and save lives.”

In a pilot program, California next year gave six cities the authority to use automatic speed safety cameras&nbsp. According to the city’s transportation department, New York City has more than 2, 000 speed enforcement cameras in school zones and experienced a 73 % decrease in speed at predetermined camera locations between 2019 and 2021. This results in one-third fewer pedestrian injuries.

However, nationwide, there is a decline in the use of crimson light cameras. According to the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety, 338 communities have implemented automated crimson light enforcement programs as of this month, a decrease from over 500 a decade before.

Decline in Red Light Cameras and Rising Challenges

Some cities are using this technology more frequently. As of macroeconomic year 2023, Philadelphia, which introduced its crimson light camera program in 2005, had 34 locations installed, with more locations being added. The Pennsylvania Department of Transportation, which distributed the money to 22 state-wide municipalities for 28 traffic safety projects, generated over$ 15 million in 2022 from violations. According to a report from the city’s transportation department, New York City’s regular daily violations per red light camera decreased from more than 30 in 1994 to seven in 2021.

Innovations Beyond Speed Enforcement

Additionally, New York and different cities are putting automated enforcement to good use to protect bike and bus lanes. Transit buses with cameras installed in New York City started issuing$ 50 tickets to drivers who block bus lanes in 2019 and will begin issuing those tickets to those who block bike lanes this year. Washington, D.C., began using cameras on Washington Metropolitan Area Transit Authority buses to issue tickets in the city in 2023 for improperly parking, stopping, or standing in a bus zone. This summer, Chicago will implement bus and bike lane enforcement in the city’s downtown using cameras mounted on Chicago Transit Authority buses, city vehicles, and fixed poles.

Anticipating Future Trends in Traffic Enforcement

According to Adam Snider, director of communications for the Governors Highway Safety Association, drivers should anticipate more automated enforcement measures. There are” a number of instances of cities sort of deprioritizing conventional traffic enforcement,” according to Snider.” Ladies have soared since then,” he said.

Although these technologies have shown to be effective at reducing speed-related crashes, some communities may feel badly targeted or believe that the cameras are merely there to make money. More states are implementing automated enforcement, Snider said, but there are still some significant public perception and policy challenges to overcome.

Leo Portal

Leo is an expert in the field of smart city research and an overall tech-enthusiast with an emphasis on smart energy, IOT, smart homes and governance. After a master degree in international administration at the University of Gothenburg in Sweden, and a master in public management at Fudan University in China, he pursued research studies in the field of smart cities at the European University Institute. This led him to publish multiple articles on smart cities. Among them “Using Smart People to Build Smarter: How Smart Cities Attract and Retain Highly Skilled Workers to Drive Innovation (Belgium, Denmark, the Netherlands, Poland)” published in the Smart Cities and Regional Development Journal (SCRD) and “Establishing Participative Smart Cities: Theory and Practice”, also published in the SCRD Journal. He regularly audits and advises municipalities and regional governments on their smart city strategies. He is currently writing a chapter for Springer on smart mobility in French smart cities.

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