Toronto

City piloting automatic speed enforcement — without the enforcement

The city is rolling out automated speed enforcement systems, often referred to as photo radar, near Toronto schools this fall, but it may not get the ability to write tickets until 2019.

Photo radar systems coming to school zones this year, but city won't be able to ticket speeders

The city will pilot the use of photo radar systems near Toronto schools starting in September, but for now it won't be able to ticket speeders based on what the cameras capture. (Philippe Huguen/Getty Images)

The city is rolling out automated speed enforcement systems near Toronto schools this fall, but it may not get the ability to write tickets until 2019.

The city announced the new pilot project, part of its Vision Zero plan to eliminate all traffic-related fatalities, on Thursday. The mobile automated speed enforcement (ASE) systems — the technology is often called photo radar — will be placed at various locations across the city from September to December, but for now they will only gather data.

According to a city news release, the ability to ticket or charge drivers won't come into effect until the end of 2019 because it requires approval from the provincial government.

"The ASE units will be used to collect the speeds and volume of vehicles," the city said in a news release.

"The data collected will also be used for educational and outreach purposes, aimed at protecting vulnerable road users, reducing excessive speed and making communities safer for everyone."

Toronto police statistics show there have already been 38 deaths on Toronto's roads in 2018, including two children who died near their schools. That number includes motorists and cyclists, however pedestrians account for more than half of those deaths.

More 'watch your speed' signs coming, too

Both Mayor John Tory and Coun. Jaye Robinson, who heads the Vision Zero plan, suggested the new pilot, which also includes mobile "watch your speed" signs, will improve road safety.

However, Robinson has previously said the ability to ticket aggressive drivers would be a key way to curb speeding — especially near schools.

As of March, the city said photo radar could be rolled out by mid-2019, with Robinson expressing hope that could be sped up. It's unclear what's causing the further delay until the end of the year.

City officials say part of the ASE rollout will evaluate how much work goes into administering the program.

Toronto plans to spend $109 million on its Vision Zero effort over the next five years.

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