Update on Automated Speed Enforcement in Toronto

The City of Toronto is currently installing Automated Speed Enforcement (ASE) technology in school and community safety zones. Toronto's ASE program will not be fully operational until the Province officially proclaims the Safer Schools Act, 2017 in force. In July, I spearheaded a strategy to proceed with implementing a comprehensive ASE program in Toronto to ensure that we are prepared to operate the system immediately following Provincial approval (expected later this year).

My motion at the July meeting of City Council authorized City staff to enter into agreements with partnering municipalities and the Province, conduct public information and communication campaigns, and work with an identified provider to supply, install, operate, and maintain Toronto's ASE system. City Council also officially requested the Provincial Government to permit the City to collect revenue from ASE and Red Light Camera fines.

As the former Chair of Public Works and Infrastructure, I lifted the decades-long moratorium on the creation of new Community Safety Zones (CSZs) to reduce aggressive driving and speeding in areas with higher concentrations of school children. This was a critical step forward as according to Provincial legislation, ASE can only be implemented in designated CSZs. Last summer, I directed Transportation staff to expand the scope of the program by doubling the number of red-light cameras and ASE to provide more effective traffic enforcement in priority areas.

Excessive speeds have been identified as one of the leading contributing factors to traffic-related injuries. Research from major institutions – including the World Health Organization – shows that slowing down traffic will save lives. Vulnerable road users have a 95% likelihood of death in a collision at 60km/h. At 40km/h the likelihood is reduced to 30%. Speed reductions were identified as the most effective Vision Zero countermeasure, potentially resulting in a 19% reduction in the number of people killed or injured on Toronto's streets.

Photo radar enforcement will encourage drivers to slow down on the streets used by children walking and biking to school. ASE has successfully lowered average vehicular speeds in municipalities throughout North America. For example, New York City reported that traffic fatalities near schools were reduced by more than 50% and speeding by 60%. In Edmonton, severe collisions were reduced by 32% and speed-related collisions by 27%.

After conducting an ASE pilot program in fall 2018, Transportation Services determined that a significant number of vehicles are regularly operating at excessive speeds across Toronto. ASE will help to enforce the posted speed limits and encourage drivers to slow down in school zones.

Once Provincial legislation is enacted, two ASE cameras will be installed in each ward for a total of 50 sites in school and community zones. The sites will be selected using a data-driven approach based on thorough analysis of speed and collision statistics. The City will be working with municipalities across Ontario, including Mississauga, Burlington, Ottawa, Waterloo, Ajax, London, Brampton, and Hamilton to share administrative costs as we continue to roll-out a consistent and comprehensive ASE program in Toronto.