Changes to photo radar usage

Read 2021 changes to photo radar usage that came into effect throughout 2022.


Automated Traffic Enforcement Technology, commonly known as photo radar, should only be used to make our roads safer. Photo radar includes mobile devices and fixed, intersection safety devices.

We’re working with the municipalities and law enforcement agencies that operate photo radar to better understand how photo radar can be used to increase traffic safety throughout the province.

Photo radar guidelines

The Automated Traffic Enforcement Guideline governs how municipalities and law enforcement agencies employ photo radar in Alberta.

Photo radar guidelines were updated in December 2021 to help municipalities implement immediate changes to enhance clarity, improve photo radar site locations and revenue streams.

These guidelines are based on 4 guiding principles:

  1. Transportation safety, not revenue generation, must be the objective of Automated Traffic Enforcement (ATE) programs in the province.
  2. Police services, in collaboration with municipalities, are responsible to ensure ATE programs are used to improve traffic safety outcomes.
  3. Ongoing evaluation of ATE programs will ensure they improve traffic safety outcomes.
  4. Public transparency is paramount for the success of photo radar programs.

Changes to photo radar usage

In January 2022, municipalities started collecting data to comply with new quarterly data submission requirements, including submitting data on contraventions, collisions, fatalities and associated reported injuries. Changes came into effect throughout 2022.

Changes to the photo radar were informed by feedback from municipalities and law enforcement agencies through the photo radar engagement.

Updates to Automated Traffic Enforcement Technology Guideline required ATE programs to implement changes.

  • By April 2022

    • Adopted a new definition of transition zones that includes areas that have rapid changes in speed, such as highway on and off ramps and highway exits.
    • Prohibited photo radar on residential streets with speeds less than 50 km/h, unless they are school and playground zones or construction zones.
    • Restricted the issuing of additional ticket(s) if the notices were received within 5 minutes of each other – only the most serious infraction will be issued a notice.
    • Started submitting Automated Traffic Enforcement Quarterly Data to the Ministry of Public Safety and Emergency Services within one month after the respective quarter.
  • By June 2022

    • Removed sites that use public concern or use conventional enforcement criteria as rationale for the site. Public concern and conventional enforcement are no longer authorized site selection criteria.
    • Restricted use of ATE on construction sites to only when at least one worker is present.
    • Restricted the use of ATE in school zones when school is in session, and the speed restriction is in effect, as per local municipal bylaws.
  • By December 2022

    • Have reassessed all existing ATE locations, using the new location selection criteria including requiring the rationale and data to be documented on a new standardized location selection form.
    • Ensured all mobile photo radar vehicles are visible and to be 'wrapped' or have signage, so Albertans know when driving if the mobile location is active for automated enforcement.
    • Advertised new photo radar sites online and through social media to increase public awareness about photo radar location.
  • By May 1, 2023

    Complete an annual report for the public indicating the performance of the ATE program by May 1, of each year, which at a minimum shall include:

    • Transportation safety outcomes
    • ATE performance indicators
    • ATE performance targets
    • data related to the performance indicators for the year as per the revised Photo Radar Guideline

Freeze on new photo radar equipment

Alberta’s government wants to make sure that photo radar technology is used for traffic safety purposes and not to generate revenue. The freeze on new photo radar equipment and locations has been extended until December 1, 2023.

This extension will allow municipalities/police services an opportunity to operate ATE under the fully implemented 2021 guideline and it will allow government an opportunity to fully assess the data received from municipalities to ensure compliance with the guideline.

This will also provide an opportunity for photo radar municipalities and law enforcement to focus on implementing the remaining changes to meet the new photo radar requirements, including enhanced data collection and reporting to public and the government.

Since December 1, 2019, municipalities and police services cannot:

  • install new photo radar equipment
  • upgrade existing photo radar devices
  • add new photo radar locations

The freeze intends to ensure municipalities do not purchase or upgrade equipment until it been determined how best to ensure ATE is used for safety purposes and not revenue generation.

Police services can continue using conventional enforcement and existing photo radar equipment and locations to ensure safety.

Municipalities using photo radar

The 26 municipalities using photo radar must post specific information about how they enforce their photo radar programs.

The following municipalities have information available about their photo radar programs:

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