Overview

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.

Freeze on new photo radar equipment

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

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

The temporary freeze will ensure municipalities don’t purchase or upgrade equipment until we’ve worked together to refine rules for radar site selection, operational restrictions and data collection.

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

Engagement

Starting January 2020, we will work with police services and municipalities to establish stronger data and reporting requirements, including:

  • Restrictions to clarify operations and to further enhance traffic safety outcomes.
  • Site selection using data to better focus on traffic safety.
  • Enhanced data collection to justify operations and evaluation consistently.
  • Enhanced traffic safety plans to directly link photo radar to traffic safety outcomes.

This work builds on several changes that were implemented in 2019, including:

  • Banning photo radar use in transition zones: Photo radar will not be allowed in the area immediately adjacent to a speed limit sign, where the speed limits changes from a higher speed to a lower speed, or vice versa.
  • Banning photo radar use on high-speed multi-lane corridors: Photo radar will not be allowed on a high-speed multi-lane highway, unless there is a documented traffic safety issue.
  • Public awareness and transparency: Municipalities are required to post all upcoming photo radar locations and update the information monthly.
  • Definitions: Clarifying terms and directions in the guidelines.
  • Organizational roles and responsibilities: better defined roles and responsibilities for municipalities and police services.
  • Data collection: Improved collection and reporting of available data. (March 2020)

Photo radar guidelines

New photo radar guidelines (PDF, 560 KB) were announced in February 2019 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.

Photo radar programs in Alberta

The 27 municipalities in Alberta that use photo radar are required to post specific information about how their photo radar programs are enforced.

Currently, these municipalities have information available about their photo radar programs. We will update as municipalities add their program information.

Photo radar review

In 2018, an independent review (PDF, 3 MB) was done to evaluate how photo radar was being used in Alberta.

The review found that:

  • photo radar does make a small contribution to traffic safety in the province, but is not being used in a way to maximize traffic safety
  • Alberta saw a reduction in collisions overall, over a 10-year period - of that, photo radar was responsible for:
    • 1.4% reduction in traffic collision rates
    • 5.3% reduction in the proportion of fatal collisions
  • municipalities wanted the guidelines to be updated to provide more clarity for photo radar operations
  • provincial guidelines could be used more effectively to maximize traffic safety outcomes