School Streets Ottawa has offered clear support for Automated Speed Enforcement to as a tool to
make our communities and school zones safe and livable. We welcome the City of Ottawa’s plan to
install 23 new speed cameras. Of the new locations 11 are within school zones and two near parks.
Of course we recognize that ASE is a target for criticism as we can expect with any slight culture shift, notably Councillor Allan Hubley who has characterized this as a cash-grab. The good news is that many of Ottawa city councillors stated their support for Automated Speed Enforcement in the School Streets Ottawa municipal survey as a tool to create community safety zones.
The fact is speed is a single factor in crash risk reduction and injury severity. Pedestrians struck by a motor vehicle travelling at 50 km/h are 8 times more likely to die compared with pedestrians struck by vehicles traveling at 30 km/h. Let’s be clear, driver convenience is not a casual trade off to making reasonable provision to safeguard life and health, especially with children in school zones.
By the numbers the Ottawa ASE pilot showed that speed cameras had a positive impact on driver speed and safety at school zones in Ottawa:
- 200% increase in speed limit compliance
- 11 % decrease at which 85 per cent of the traffic is travelling at or below the speed limit
- 72 per cent decrease in drivers traveling at 15 km/h over the speed limit
We recognize that Automated Speed Enforcement is a step in the right direction to make our communities safer and making active transportation options more attractive, but we must do more. ASE seeks to provide an enforcement solution to flawed road designs, that often roads are too fast and wide, we must address the design to reduce speed and to induce active travel traffic, which we explore with how road renewals can support school streets.
As for what to do with the
cash-grab revenues? ASE revenues presently go to Ottawa’s Road Action Safety Plan, a program running until 2024 which mainly focusses mainly on education campaigns. We think ASE funds would have greater impact in funding road design, where revenues can be used to fund a Vision Zero implementation plan, to increase Ward traffic calming budgets, and of course a School Street pilot.
Tell us what you think about ASE and community safety zones in the comments or reach out to us!