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Making an Impact: How Strategic Photo Enforcement Installations Improve Safety Community-wide

Photo enforcement has consistently proven to be a valuable addition to traffic safety initiatives. However, you won’t see a city with photo enforcement cameras installed at every intersection. Municipalities instead focus photo enforcement efforts on high-risk areas, noting positive changes in driving behaviors in those areas and beyond.

Most people tend to agree with this approach. For instance, a 2012 survey conducted by the University of Minnesota found 64 percent of drivers believe automated speed enforcement is effective, with more than 75 percent of those respondents supporting the installation of photo enforcement in limited locations, such as near schools, in construction zones and in areas with high instances of crashes or violations.

When it comes to red-light running, 93 percent of people think running a red light is unacceptable, according to a 2015 national telephone survey by the AAA Foundation for Traffic Safety. 53 percent of people supported using photo enforcement to monitor red-light running in urban areas, and 57 percent of supported installing red-light cameras on residential streets.

Raising Awareness
The presence of photo enforcement technology at an intersection or along a roadway causes drivers to think twice before attempting a risky maneuver, using more caution in that specific area and in the areas surrounding the cameras. Regardless of whether a driver commits a violation, the presence of photo enforcement cameras serves as a reminder to be more mindful of all driving behaviors.

Strategic Placement Has High Impact
Municipalities can conduct traffic surveys and analyze historical violation and crash data to identify installation locations and to track success over time. Data collection should extend to a radius around each photo enforcement system to determine the extent of the community impact.

Limiting installation to high-risk locations also helps focus the municipality’s investment, ensuring that the community experiences the maximum improvement in safety.

Public Outreach’s Role in Program Success
Transparency is key throughout the life of a photo enforcement program. New programs should be accompanied by a robust community outreach strategy to educate the public about the purpose of the program, when it will begin and where photo enforcement will be installed. It is also be beneficial to conduct outreach at least annually to showcase the program’s progress with residents, including any reductions in crashes or violations.

Redflex assists communities with public outreach programs to ensure community members are fully aware of new photo enforcement installations and their impact on overall community safety. These programs open up a two-way conversation between citizens and their municipality, which is essential to the success of long-term photo enforcement installations.