Kingston City Council to consider Automated Speed Enforcement cameras

Kingston City Hall. Kingstonist file photo.

On Tuesday, Apr. 18, 2023, Kingston City Council will vote on whether to launch a new Automated Speed Enforcement (ASE) program, which would see two mobile camera systems installed in the city as part of a new pilot project.

According to a staff report circulating ahead of Tuesday’s meeting, by installing two ASE cameras, the City could generate up to 10,000 annual charges from motorists speeding in designated areas, which would bring in approximately $550,000 in revenue.

ASE systems use photo radar as an automated way of enforcing speed limits in school and community safety zones (CSZs). The staff report notes the systems are currently being used by 12 other Ontario municipalities.

“These enforcement devices capture an image of speeding vehicles for review by Provincial Offences Officers in a municipal joint processing centre,” the report reads. The cameras were introduced to the province’s Highway Traffic Act in 2017, through the Safer School Zones Act.

The ticketing process for ASEs is similar to the Red Light Camera (RLC) program, which is already in place in the City of Kingston. “If [a] violation is confirmed upon review, a ticket is then mailed to the registered owner of the vehicle with a fine proportional to the speed recorded. There are no demerit points associated with a ticket issued through ASE. The registered owner of the vehicle can then pay the fine or contest the ticket through the local Provincial Offences Court.”

The report goes on to state that, of the 12 municipalities currently using ASEs, “preliminary data reviews in Toronto and Hamilton showed speed reductions and increased speed limit compliance in ASE areas.” 

The proposed ASE program is the latest effort by the City to increase safety near Kingston schools. In August of 2021, Council passed a motion which called on staff to investigate a potential ASE program in Kingston. In July 2022, Council approved a phased implementation of CSZs near all area schools, with ASE cameras providing an added level of safety in these designated zones, according to the City.

In terms of what the project will cost the City, revenue generated from offences is not expected to cover the full cost of the cameras. The report indicates that startup costs will likely be around $365,000 to install the two cameras, with annual operating costs coming in at $686,000. With an expected revenue of $550,000, based on an average offence of 10km/h over the speed limit, the ASE program could cost the City upwards of $136,000 a year. 

On Tuesday night, City Council will be asked to approve $365,000 from the Working Fund Reserve, in order to cover the costs associated with launching the one- to two-year project. Additional operating costs will be incorporated into future municipal operating budgets, beginning in 2024.

The report notes that a pilot program will allow the City to “monitor the effectiveness of ASE, the ease of redeployment, ongoing capacity and resourcing requirements, and the associated cost and revenue.” 

If the report is approved on Tuesday night, City staff will then begin to evaluate and identify potential ASE locations, with an estimated project start date of Q3 2024. Before the two cameras are installed, a site study will be carried out, and the City will need to allow for a notice period in order to inform residents of the program before the cameras go into operation.

The proposed ASE program will be presented to Council at a meeting on Tuesday, Apr. 18, 2023, scheduled for 7:00 p.m. inside Council Chambers. The meeting will be open to the public and can also be streamed online through the Kingston City Council YouTube channel.

One thought on “Kingston City Council to consider Automated Speed Enforcement cameras

  • How on Earth can it cost $686,000 to maintain two cameras? These types of cameras are ubiquitous in the UK and there is no way any British council is paying that much for maintenance.

    You could literally pay someone to stand at each site with a radar gun for less than this…

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