Auditor’s report shows Edmonton’s streets are getting safer

The Office of the City Auditor has just posted its review of one of Edmonton’s most important traffic safety tools: Automated Photo Enforcement.

From a public safety perspective, the headline is on page 13 and it’s great news for Edmontonians: The number of collisions that cause injuries and fatalities is going down, way down.  Back in 2007, there were 7.44 such collisions per 1000 Edmontonians.  Last year that number was 3.89 per 1000 people.

Office of the City Auditor - Automated Photo Enforcement Review


Put that together with the information gleaned from a recent cost of collisions study for the Edmonton area and you can see how the strategy isn’t only saving lives, it’s saving money too. It shows that the price tag for collisions in the Capital Region is more than $1 billion each year.

Another fact revealed by the auditor’s report is how few of us actually get tickets. Of more than 360 million vehicles that were monitored by automated enforcement equipment in 20 months, only 476 thousand tickets were issued… that’s just 0.13%. The number of tickets issued to people who were obeying the law was zero.

Office of the City Auditor - Automated Photo Enforcement Review

The goal of the Auditor’s review was to assess the City’s strategy of taking over the enforcement role from the private company that used to administer the program. One of those measures is cost savings. The review shows that while the cost for the city-run program is higher than predicted back in 2007, it is not costing taxpayers extra money because the fines collected cover it. In fact, the review shows we are getting more efficient every year. The cost per ticket has gone from $17.09 in 2008 to $10.71 in 2013.

Office of the City Auditor - Automated Photo Enforcement Review

The ultimate goal with automated photo enforcement is to collect no money at all, because that would mean that Edmontonians had quit endangering each other by speeding. In the meantime, Mayor and Council have directed that any money collected from automated enforcement tickets that is not needed to run the program should be spent on traffic safety. One of the first projects is the new 30 km/h school zones around Edmonton elementary schools, an initiative that is making our streets safer for our most vulnerable citizens: Children.


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About the Author
Gillian Rutherford
Gillian Rutherford is a communications advisor for the Transportation department.
  1. C
    5 years ago

    Very glad to see that the number of tickets issued to people obeying the law was zero. I would be highly concerned if you were issuing them!!

  2. Chris F Cameron
    5 years ago

    “….it is not costing taxpayers extra money because the fines collected cover it” seems an odd comment. Drivers are taxpayers, and the money paid against these fines, indeed, did come from taxpayers. Taxpayers in essence funded a transition that exceeded the City’s photo radar business plan. How can an Edmonton voter not see this as nothing but a backdoor tax grab to fund a City initiative, particularly when greater photo radar enforcement was kept a secret from the taxpayers. What assurances do the citizens of Edmonton have that City staff conducting photo radar were properly trained?.

  3. Clyde
    5 years ago

    I am impressed on the way the auditor took bits and pieces of information to support their conclusion. Could there be some correlation to reduced fatal and injuries collision due to new vehicle design? In that time, did the city make changes to high collision intersection to help reduce collisions (yes they did)? To imply that it is all because of photo radar is a misnomer. Also, what were the total collision (including non injury collisions) during the same time? Was it up/down/constant? I am sure somebody else can put out an audited report using the same information and posting only the information that support an anti-photo radar bias.

    I am not against photo radar. I usually get 1 per year and pay it. What I am against is any audited report that so biased that the conclusion has been determined before the information has been reviewed.


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