Is it really about safety?

Let's compare some statistics from cities/regions in Ontario, Manitoba and Alberta.

In 2014, Edmonton (photo radar only) issued 12 times more speeding violations than Ottawa (no photo radar), a city with a comparable population. Since photo radar is making Edmonton streets safer, we should see a much lower collision/fatality rate per capita than Ottawa right? Have a look below.

Source: FOIP & nophotoradar.ca

Despite issuing 12 times more tickets than Ottawa, Edmonton has a higher average fatality rate.

Source: FOIP & nophotoradar.ca

Yet, Edmonton still has a higher collision rate per 100k people averaged from 2011 to 2014.

Source: FOIP & nophotoradar.ca

Ratio of tickets to population across various cities in Canada (2014)

Swipe left to view more of the table.

City/Region Population # of tickets Ratio
Durham Region (No Photo Radar) 600k 49,000 1:12
Ottawa (No Photo Radar) 880k 42,000 1:20
Toronto (No Photo Radar) 2.6m 218,000 1:12
Winnipeg (Photo Radar) 600k 150,000 1:4
Edmonton (Photo Radar) 880k 486,000 1:2

Source: FOIP & nophotoradar.ca

But look at those revenues

Photo enforcement generates a huge amount of money. We asked Edmonton for their revenue numbers through a FOIP request but they ignored us (don't worry, a complaint has been filed). We also asked Calgary, they were a little more willing to provide their numbers, however they wanted over $4,000 to provide their most ticketed areas in relation to their highest collision areas (Calgary responses are bolded).

Why use computers when you can keep everything in filing cabinets?

Source: FOIP Request

So how do they do it?

Like this. Photo radar vehicles hide so they cannot be seen by passing traffic. Ask yourself this: which scenario is more likely to change dangerous driving habits immediately? Here are a few possible answers:

  1. Hide behind trees, an overpass, or any structure so enforcement cannot be seen and mail the driver a ticket weeks later that does not affect his or her driving record.
  2. Park out in the open where drivers can see that if they do not slow down, they will be ticketed and mailed a ticket weeks later, but it will still not affect his or her driving record.
  3. Have an officer of the law who will use his or her sense of judgement and take the dangerous drivers off the road by intervening immediately.

The answer should be obvious. Photo enforcement will not take dangerous, drunk, erratic drivers off the road. What it will do, is mail a possible drunk driver a minor tax weeks later for exceeding the speed limit. A drunk driver, who may just take a family's lives up ahead will not be stopped by photo radar; immediate police intervention can save that family's lives. Which one would you choose?

At startup, photo radar cost Edmonton taxpayers $47,000,000 more than expected

The city of Edmonton spent $47 million dollars more than expected of taxpayer money after it decided to take over the photo radar program in 2007. In 2014 a review was done on the operating costs of photo radar in Edmonton, let's have a look.

Coincidentally, photo radar tickets skyrocketed after the city took over the program

In 2011, the Edmonton Police Service still ran the photo radar program. In 2012, the city started taking over the program and by 2013 were fully running it. Let's have a look at the difference in ticket numbers when the Edmonton Police Service fully handed the program over to the city in 2013.

In the first year when the program was fully ran by the city of Edmonton, the number of tickets issued to motorists increased by a staggering 159%, or 259,724 tickets. We don't think this is a coincidence, but a realization of the revenues that can be made by ticketing the majority of motorists, most of which are driving safely and with the flow of traffic.

Let's break those numbers down even further:

Swipe left to view more of the table.

2011
EPS runs program
2012
EPS & City run program
2013
City runs program
2014
City runs program
6 - 10 km/h 2,462 3,252 12,403 63,616
11 - 15 km/h 38,222 42,868 109,096 204,386
16 - 20 km/h 76,689 85,027 203,721 152,688
More than 20 km/h 29,981 31,849 97,500 65,630
Totals: 147,354 162,996 422,720 486,320

Infraction categories are based over posted speed limit.
Source: Global News FOIP Request

"The use of automated enforcement significantly reduces speeding. It is proven to reduce collisions and the resulting injuries, and moves Edmonton towards zero fatalities and major injuries."

Yes that's an actual quote from the city of Edmonton's website. Are we really moving towards zero fatalities and injuries?

The answer would be no, Edmontonians are just terrible drivers according to police Chief Rod Knecht.

If that's really the case, why are we not focusing on driver education instead of more enforcement? Surely if Edmontonians are terrible drivers the smartest solution would be to educate them instead of taxing the "speed demons" going 6 km/h over the limit. Education doesn't generate revenue though, so the obvious solution is to tax them, right? Priorities.

Historical Collision Statistics

Have a look at the chart to the right (or below on mobile). You may be wondering why there was such a significant drop in collisions beginning in 2011. While the city might try and tell you it is due to photo radar and other enforcement tactics, the real reason for the sharp decline is the Alberta goverment changed the threshold at which you must report the collsion to the police. As of January 1, 2011, any collision with damages exceeding $2,000 must be reorted to police, and prior to that date it was $1,000.

Our collision rate is only slightly better than it was 15 years despite a ten-fold increase in speed and red light enforcement.

Infographics from our partners at nophotoradar.ca

Click any image to enlarge and cycle through the gallery.

Let's talk about intersection cameras

You don't want anybody running red lights or speeding through intersections and neither do we, but here's something you might not know: intersections with cameras have been linked to higher collision rates than those without. Why you ask? They have been found to increase the frequency of rear end collisions due to abrupt stopping in fear of getting fined. Cities around the globe have terminated intersection cameras for this reason as well as running them strictly for profits. Here's just a few examples:

We have sent in official FOIP requests to the city of Edmonton for statistics in the high collision intersections and what the collision numbers were before and after they were installed. They have yet to get back to us and an official complaint has been filed. We're starting to think they're ignoring us for a reason.

Shorter yellow light timing

Many cities have been accused or caught for shortening yellow light timing in order to maximize profits from red light cameras. While cities in Alberta have yet to do so or have yet to be caught, we would not be surprised to see this happen given the photo enforcement greed that exists in the province. Let's make a change before we get to that point - longer yellow light timing results in a significant decrease in red light violations.

Take Action!

See our plan of action, sign our unofficial petition and send an email to those responsible for change. Take action now!

Take Action!

Learn More