Numbers Matter: Why It’s Important to Share Data About Your Photo Enforcement Program
These days, the public demands the utmost transparency from the brands and leaders they interact with. Public figures, sports teams and even consumer brands must present the facts – often in the form of data – to gain and maintain trust.
It’s no different with photo enforcement. Sharing data is especially important for building trust with residents and illustrating why the technology is needed in the community. By leading with data, you increase credibility and provide an unbiased source of information to help residents draw their own educated conclusions.
However, it is important to decode the appropriate data and jargon that you share, and choose the right channels in order to maximize its impact on public opinion.
How to Assess Data
Data showing trends in crashes or violations can be especially helpful to support the need for your photo enforcement program. Collect data before installing the technology and continually monitor traffic passing through photo-enforced regions to determine how the systems impact safety. Depending on road conditions and historical issues, data to monitor over time may include:
- Incidents and violations
- Total crashes
- Injury crashes
- Deadly crashes
In many cases, cities will experience a “halo effect” with their photo enforcement programs, meaning that crashes and violations are ultimately reduced citywide or region-wide, in addition to those directly monitored.
It’s also important to note that a long-term reduction in violations is highly positive. It’s a sign that drivers are altering negative behaviors and exhibiting extra caution on the roadways.
How to Share Data
- Disseminate your data via multiple communication channels to maximize its reach. We recommend:
- Press releases to local media
- Presentations at city council meetings
- City website
- Social media networks
- Flyers at public safety events
Program renewals or anniversaries
Remind the public about the impact of the photo enforcement program by sharing data on the annual program anniversary or when you renew your contract. Be sure to interpret the data in your communications and explain the key points in easy-to-understand language.
When moving system locations
Use data to explain why you’re moving photo enforcement systems. Violations and crashes may be reduced significantly over time at one location, while another unmonitored location may experience an uptick in incidents. Drivers need to see the data to understand the safety issue at hand and adjust their own behaviors.
If your city experiences high traffic during certain seasons, it can be helpful to release the latest data about road safety before and after the busy period. For instance, if your city uses school zone speed enforcement or school bus stop arm enforcement, promote traffic data a few weeks before the school year begins. Another city with a strong tourist season can help residents better understand the use of photo enforcement before and after an influx of drivers appear.
Transparency is essential to the success of photo enforcement programs. By being more open about the technology and its effectiveness, you’ll create an opportunity for the public to educate themselves and accept photo enforcement as a part of the city’s larger public safety strategy.