Photo radar is in Hamilton to stay. A staff report says the photo radar system has been generally effective in getting vehicles to slow down in Hamilton, but is far from being a cash grab as critics had claimed it would be. The city operated two mobile cameras, moving them to 18 various locations through the city. In the initial going some of the units were vandalized which created expense. Overall, when the cost of the equipment was taken into account and cost of processing the fines– the city actually lost $600,000 in the first year. The program is being funded out of the Red-Light Camera fund which has about $5.6 million left. Staff are resisting calls to add cameras until the province changes the rules for ticketing and collecting funds, which will significantly lower operating costs of the program. The program garnered about $1.6 million in fines in one year and cost $2.2 Million to operate.
Money-losing or not, the program is popular with councillors who have often reported that speeding traffic is the number one resident complaint they have to contend with.
In recommending continuation of the program at current levels staff noted “data collected during the pilot demonstrates that (the) technology is effective at reducing motor vehicle speeds and increasing driver compliance with posted speed limits. Evidence suggests that the presence of ASE on a roadway changes driver behaviour because when the units were removed from operating locations there was a measurable residual benefit in vehicle speeds.”
The program showed great improvement in curbing speeding in some areas, and not so much in others. For instance when equipment was installed on Stone Church between Dartnall and Prichard, westbound compliance more than doubled, but on the same stretch the eastbound compliance actually got worse by 10 percent. On Lawrence road, Compliance in both directions more than tripled while the equipment was in place, but fell back sharply after removal.
A complete summary of the experience with each camera location can be accessed here. https://pub-hamilton.escribemeetings.com/filestream.ashx?DocumentId=284505