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Changes to photo radar usage

Learn more about changes to photo radar usage that will come 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 will start collecting data to comply with new quarterly data submission requirements (detailed information on ticketing, site ticketing numbers and more). Further changes will come into effect throughout 2022.

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

  • For April 2022

    • Adopt 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.
    • Prohibit photo radar on residential streets with speeds less than 50 km/h, unless they are school and playground zones or construction zones.
    • Restrict 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.
    • Municipalities will also start submitting quarterly reports to Alberta Justice and Solicitor General with data from January 1, 2022, to March 31, 2022.
  • For June 2022

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

    • All existing locations will be reassessed using new location criteria and data, and implement another safety tool, such as speed bumps and education, to change behaviour before considering photo radar at a new location.
    • All mobile photo radar vehicles will need to ‘wrap’ all photo radar vehicles to make them more visible to drivers.
    • Municipalities and law enforcement agencies will be required to advertise new photo radar sites online and through social media.

Freeze on new photo radar equipment

The freeze on new photo radar equipment and locations has been extended for an additional year until December 1, 2022.

This will provide an opportunity for photo radar municipalities and law enforcement to implement changes to meet the new photo radar requirements, including enhanced data collection and reporting to 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 did not purchase or upgrade equipment until it had 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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