Speed and safety effect of photo radar enforcement on a highway corridor in British Columbia

Accid Anal Prev. 2002 Mar;34(2):129-38. doi: 10.1016/s0001-4575(01)00006-9.


This study evaluates the effect of the photo radar program on traffic speed and collisions at photo radar (PRP) influence locations (PRP location) and interleaving non-PRP locations on the Vancouver Island portion of Highway 17 (Pat Bay Highway) in British Columbia (BC). Simple before-after comparison was used to summarize the speed effect while observational before- after method was employed to estimate the safety effect. To control for regression to the mean and time effect, Empirical Bayes (EB) method with comparison groups was employed in collision analysis. The study found a 2.8-km/h reduction in mean speed and a 0.5-km/h reduction in speed standard deviation at a monitoring site 2 km south of the treatment area. Corresponding to speed reduction. the study revealed a 14%+/-11% reduction in expected collisions at the PRP locations, a 19%+/-10% reduction at the non-PRP locations, and a 16%+/-7% reduction along the study corridor as a whole. No evidence was found for a localized effect in a 2-km range of the photo radar direct influence area, over and above those at the interleaving non-PRP locations. The results support the hypothesis of a distance spillover effect--that the program not only improved safety at the PRP locations, but along the entire enforcement corridor as well. It suggests that the unpredictable nature of the deployments lead drivers to modify their behavior along the length of the corridor because they could not discern 'safe' from 'unsafe' segments.

MeSH terms

  • Accidents, Traffic / prevention & control*
  • Automobile Driving*
  • British Columbia
  • Humans
  • Radar*
  • Social Control, Formal