Nav: Home

Automated speed enforcement doesn't just reduce collisions -- it helps reduce crime

February 21, 2019

It's widely accepted that automated photo enforcement programs targeting speeding help reduce collisions and promote safe driving. Now a new University of British Columbia study suggests they can also significantly reduce crime in the neighbourhoods in which they are deployed.

Researchers analyzed traffic-related data collected between 2013 and 2015 in the western Canadian city of Edmonton and found that vehicle collisions dropped in the areas where automated speed enforcement units were used. But they also found that crime - specifically property-related criminal incidents - declined significantly.

"Our results prove that automated speed enforcement, which uses cameras to detect and capture images of vehicles exceeding the speed limit, reduces collisions as well as discourages crime," said Shewkar Ibrahim, a traffic safety engineer for the City of Edmonton who led the research for her PhD studies in civil engineering at UBC.

"People intending to commit crime are usually deterred by the presence of authority," said Ibrahim. "Since criminals also tend to show unsafe driving behaviours, you can expect to see fewer collisions due to the presence of automated speed enforcement."

Building on their analysis, the researchers also developed a planning chart that enforcement agencies can use to effectively plan the deployment of their mobile speed enforcement units.

"Using this tool, we can see how many collisions can be prevented by spending a certain number of hours at a given location," said Ibrahim. "We can then assign resources to where they are most needed."

Study co-author Tarek Sayed says the research confirms the benefits of automated speed enforcement.

"Automated enforcement has always been a contentious issue, and so having this evidence to show its dual benefits will hopefully promote its use as a tool for improving community safety," said Sayed, a UBC professor of civil engineering and Canada Research Chair in Transportation Safety and Advanced Mobility who supervised the work.

The results also suggest that automated enforcement, which requires fewer resources to implement, can be a good alternative to manned enforcement. "This is the first study to show that automated enforcement is absolutely effective in reducing both collisions and crimes," added Sayed.
-end-
The study is described in two papers presented at the 2019 Transportation Research Board Annual Meeting. Contact lou.bosshart@ubc.ca for more information or to schedule interviews with the researchers.

University of British Columbia

Related Research Articles:

More Research News and Research Current Events

Best Science Podcasts 2019

We have hand picked the best science podcasts for 2019. Sit back and enjoy new science podcasts updated daily from your favorite science news services and scientists.
Now Playing: TED Radio Hour

Erasing The Stigma
Many of us either cope with mental illness or know someone who does. But we still have a hard time talking about it. This hour, TED speakers explore ways to push past — and even erase — the stigma. Guests include musician and comedian Jordan Raskopoulos, neuroscientist and psychiatrist Thomas Insel, psychiatrist Dixon Chibanda, anxiety and depression researcher Olivia Remes, and entrepreneur Sangu Delle.
Now Playing: Science for the People

#537 Science Journalism, Hold the Hype
Everyone's seen a piece of science getting over-exaggerated in the media. Most people would be quick to blame journalists and big media for getting in wrong. In many cases, you'd be right. But there's other sources of hype in science journalism. and one of them can be found in the humble, and little-known press release. We're talking with Chris Chambers about doing science about science journalism, and where the hype creeps in. Related links: The association between exaggeration in health related science news and academic press releases: retrospective observational study Claims of causality in health news: a randomised trial This...