Finally, some Vision Zero progress.

Nearly two years have passed since automated enforcement cameras were installed on Roosevelt Boulevard in June 2020. At the 2022 Vision Zero PHL Conference that the Bicycle Coalition put on last Saturday at Temple University, Corinne O’Connor (Philadelphia Parking Authority), Erick Guerra (University of Pennsylvania) and Christopher Puchalsky (City of Philadelphia’s Office of Transportation Infrastructure and Sustainability) reported on the performance of automated speed enforcement on Roosevelt Boulevard and its future role in shaping Vision Zero in Philadelphia.

Timeline of automated enforcement on Roosevelt Boulevard

Aggressive driving, which includes speeding, is the number one contributing factor in traffic fatalities in Philadelphia. And fatal crashes on Roosevelt Boulevard have accounted for up to 9% of the Philadelphia’s fatal crashes between 2015 and 2019. A five-year pilot for automated speed enforcement on Roosevelt Boulevard was authorized by the Pennsylvania Assembly in October 2018. In May 2019, the City of Philadelphia passed a required ordinance to begin the program and in September, Mayor Kenney signed the city legislation. In June 2020, the cameras were installed and a 60 day warning period was initiated. In August 2020, violations were issued by cameras operated by the Philadelphia Parking Authority. Only motor vehicles that are traveling 11 miles over the speed limit are issued violations. Violations range from $100-$150. No points are given. All revenue (after operating costs) is directed to PennDOT and then re-allocated for road safety projects.

The Philadelphia Parking Authority released its second year report in early April 2022. Professor Erick Guerra analyzed PennDOT and Philadelphia Police Department collision and fatality data.

Takeaways from Vision Zero panelists’ findings

  • Since June 2020, when the program began, violations have dropped 91.4% (as of November 2021) from cameras at eight locations. At this time, two additional locations are being planned to make 10 locations along the Boulevard
  • In the first seven months, there was a statistically significant 30% reduction in reported collisions relative to reported collisions in the whole city. There was a 50% reduction in reported collisions relative to other 3 and 4 lane road segments
  • In the first seven months, there was around a 50% reduction in traffic fatalities, which was statistically significant relative to other major arterials
  • The best estimate is that speed cameras have prevented approximately 8 traffic fatalities in 2020 and 2021
  • The program is effective at saving lives and should be renewed and expanded to the rest of Philadelphia

The Bicycle Coalition led the advocacy effort in 2018 to pass authorizing legislation for the pilot program and will be working with partners to reauthorize the legislation before 2023 and expand the its scope to other roadways where speeding is a leading cause of traffic fatalities and severe injuries.

Learn more: the slides from the Vision Zero Conference panel on Expanding Automated Enforcement are here.

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