Automated speed enforcement program in Waterloo region slowing drivers

A new report by Region of Waterloo’s transportation department shows drivers are slowing down in 13 school zones where an automated speed enforcement program has been implemented.

“We’ve seen positive impacts on driver speeds,” the region’s manager of traffic engineering, Bob Henderson told CTV News. “Approximately a five to six kilometre per hour reduction in the speeds that we’d seen prior to the installation of automated speed enforcement (ASE).”

The pilot project, introduced in early 2021, recommended speed cameras be put around 16 schools.

Weather delayed the installation in three of those zones, but Henderson said that will be complete by the end of this school year.

MEASURES OF SUCCESS AND NUMBER OF TICKETS ISSUED

The report shows the average speed of drivers has been reduced by an average of nine per cent.

The greatest reduction in speed appears to be in higher speed rural school zones.

On average 41 per cent of motorists were traveling at or below the posted speed limit before ASE. The report shows after it was implemented, 67 per cent of drivers were traveling at or below the posted speed limit.

“Long story short, we’re in this to make it safer for kids to walk to school,” said Henderson.

“I think they’re effective,” one parent told CTV News. “It does a good job.”

“I notice a lot of cars decreasing speed when approaching the school zone,” said another.

The report also shows 2,673 tickets were issued since October 2021.

That generated a net revenue of $93,463 for the region. Staff said that’s on track with the program’s anticipated revenue of $200,000 per year.

"We're pleased with what we're seeing in terms of speed reduction,” said Henderson. “We're anticipating further speed reductions as drivers get more used to and acclimated to automated speed enforcement in Waterloo region."

HOPES TO EXPAND

The initial cost of the entire program was estimated to be about $750,000.

Henderson said there’s been a slight increase, although he did not provide a dollar figure.

He said there were some unanticipated costs, including hydro metering, and the hiring of electrical contractors to make connections between ASE sites and hydro services.

Despite this, staff is recommending future expansion of the program and is working to identify more school zones.

The matter will go to regional council Tuesday, May 10.