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Automated speed enforcement could be coming to county roads

County of Simcoe investigating possibility of automated speed enforcement to increase compliance in community safety zones
An automated speed enforcement (ASE) camera in Cambridge.

Tap your brakes, because automated speed enforcement could be rolling into Simcoe County.

On Tuesday morning, County of Simcoe councillors received a report on automated speed enforcement, which the corporation is currently investigating as an option on county roads.

“The main reason for investigating the use of automated speed enforcement is to increase motorist compliance with the posted speed limits in the areas of school zones and community safety zones,” Christian Meile, director of transportation and engineering with the County of Simcoe told Village Media this week.

Automated speed enforcement (ASE) is a system that uses a camera and a speed measurement device to detect and capture images of vehicles travelling in excess of the posted speed limit.

The data is retrieved from the device and analyzed by provincial offences officers at a joint processing centre. Currently, the only processing centre is managed by the City of Toronto and is currently at capacity.

“They will be moving to a new larger facility in 2022 and expect to be able to add capacity by 2023,” noted Meile in his report to council.

“In terms of cost, there is a one-time start-up fee required by the city estimated to be $90,000 and then they charge a fee per infraction of approximately $35,” he added.

There are also costs associated with procurement of ASE devices, but costs vary depending on whether the county opts for permanent or mobile devices, and where the devices would be placed. Initial start-up costs are approximately $250 for each mobile unit and $38,000 for each permanent device. There are additional costs for moving the mobile devices to alternate locations.

To participate in the program, several formal agreements would be required, beginning with the Ministry of Transportation to request licence plate/ ownership information to allow the processing centre to lay charges on the behalf of the County of Simcoe.

Implementation of the process requires several agreements with other agencies for data sharing, use of equipment and hardware as well as processing of infractions.

“For now, the county is looking into the use of ASE on county roads as the logistics of a shared program become quite complicated; however, once we have a process in place it may be a model our member municipalities can emulate,” said Meile. “Any changes to the initial scope of our research would require further direction and input from county council.”

The Safer School Zones Act amended the Highway Traffic Act to introduce the use of automated speed enforcement (ASE) in school zones and community safety zones across the province in 2017.

To date, 12 municipalities across the province have implemented some form of ASE over the last two years.

“It is expected the ability for the county to consider developing an Automated Speed Enforcement program may become available in 2022 or 2023 and could be considered as part of the 2023 budget development as costs of the program are significant,” Meile wrote in his report.

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Jessica Owen

About the Author: Jessica Owen

Jessica Owen brings 14 years of experience to her role as reporter for Village Media, primarily covering Collingwood and education.
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