Pennsylvania’s Transportation Advisory Committee (TAC) conducts studies and reports to advise the State Transportation Commission (STC) and the Secretary of the Pennsylvania Department of Transportation (PennDOT). Earlier this week, TAC released a study that evaluated the Automated Speed Enforcement (ASE) or Automated Speed Camera pilot on Roosevelt Blvd. It found that total crashes and fatal crashes on Roosevelt Boulevard dropped 36% and 11% respectively before and after the installation of the program’s implementation, as compared to 6% reduction in total crashes and 16% increase in fatal crashes throughout the City of Philadelphia over the same time period.
Given the spike in hit and runs for the third year in a row, and level of traffic fatalities that hasn’t yet returned to pre-pandemic levels, this irrefutable confirmation that automated enforcement works is critically important as we move toward seeking reauthorization and expansion of the state law that permitted the pilot in 2018.
“ASE: A Successful Pilot — The “unblinking eye” of ASE has been effective at changing driver behavior by reducing speeds and roadway fatalities. A summary of data collected a year before (2019) and a year after (2021) the height of the COVID-19 pandemic offers a compelling rationale of the ASE pilot’s success in achieving its stated objectives: total crashes declined by 36 percent along Roosevelt Boulevard over the period while falling only six percent citywide.”
“Given the Pilot’s success, the TAC recommends that the ASE program not only continue beyond the legislatively prescribed sunset of December 18, 2023, but that its use be widened to become a statewide program, similar to the successful Automated Red Light Enforcement program (ARLE) that preceded it.”
Automated Speed Enforcement (ASE) is growing in prominence as an effective countermeasure for improving roadway safety. Currently 19 states and the District of Columbia presently operate some form of ASE, primarily in work zones and school zones. Both the Federal Highway Administration (FHWA) and the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) have directives for transportation agencies to consider implementation of automated enforcement. The Pennsylvania General Assembly enacted legislation through Act 86 of 2018 that formally introduced automated speed enforcement in the state through a five-year pilot involving a portion of US 1 or Roosevelt Boulevard in the City of Philadelphia between Ninth Street and the Bucks County line.1 With the ASE pilot set to expire on December 18, 2023, the state Transportation Advisory Committee (TAC) undertook this evaluation to determine the merits of the ASE pilot and its effectiveness in meeting its objectives of reducing speeds, fatalities, and suspected serious injuries.
Philadelphia saw some of the worst traffic crashes in 2020 and while the city as a whole only saw 6% decrease in crashes in 2021, Roosevelt Blvd saw a decrease of 36% with the Camera Enforcement in use.
ASE has demonstrated its effectiveness and deserves consideration by the General Assembly for continuation and expansion beyond Roosevelt Boulevard to a statewide application.
Crashes, injuries, and deaths that occur because of speeding or poor driver behavior are preventable. One death is too many, and ASE can be used throughout Pennsylvania as another effective safety countermeasure that can help PennDOT and the state’s municipalities bring the annual number of roadway deaths down to zero.