U.S. Department of Transportation, Federal Highway Administration

Speed Enforcement Camera Systems Operational Guidelines

Type of Resource: Document
Authors: FHWA, NHTSA
Publisher: Federal Highway Administration, National Highway Traffic Safety Administration
Report Number (if applicable): DOT HS 810 916
Year: 2008

Resource Links:

Resource LinkFile on CD  Speed Camera Guidelines.pdf
Resource LinkExternal Link to Document  Speed Enforcement Camera Systems Operational Guidelines

Resource Abstract:

Speeding is one of the major causes of crashes, deaths, and injuries on the Nation’s roadways. Speeding has consistently been a contributing cause in approximately 30 percent of all motor vehicle crashes over the last 10 years. The primary reason for managing traffic speeds is safety. The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration, Federal Highway Administration (FHWA), and Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA) support a comprehensive approach to speed management. Speed management involves engineering, enforcement, and education as components in a comprehensive approach to controlling excessive speeds. Speed management requires applying road design elements and engineering measures to obtain appropriate speeds; setting speed limits that are rational, safe, and reasonable; and applying highly visible and well publicized enforcement efforts that focus on crash producing violators. Reducing speeding-related crashes, injuries and deaths is the goal of speed management. Research has shown that free flow travel speeds within 5 to 10 mph of the posted speed limit has the potential to reduce serious injury and fatal crashes and produces even greater benefits when the most egregious speeders are targeted. Automated speed enforcement (ASE) systems are an important element in speed management and can be a very effective countermeasure to prevent speeding-related crashes. However, when used, ASE is a supplement to, not a replacement for, traditional enforcement operations. Advantages of ASE include: the ability to increase safety for law enforcement officers by implementing ASE in areas where traditional traffic stops are dangerous or infeasible due to roadway design, the ability to continuously enforce the speed limit, and reductions in traffic congestion sometimes caused by driver distraction at traffic stops. The ASE guidelines are intended to serve program managers, administrators, law enforcement, traffic engineers, program evaluators, and other individuals responsible for the strategic vision and daily operations of the program. The guidelines are written from a U.S. perspective and emphasize U.S. con-texts and best practices. However, they are also drawn from the experiences of exemplary programs internationally. Though international differences in law, history, and culture might influence best practices for ASE, the majority of these guidelines are relevant to ASE programs worldwide. The guidelines are intended to be accessible and inclusive, with an emphasis on presenting options and describing the advantages, particularly in increased traffic flow and reduced congestion, and disadvantages of each, so that an ASE program can be tailored to the needs of a particular jurisdiction. The technological state of the practice in ASE is developing rapidly. Some specific technologies are described, but rather than focus on the capabilities of current technologies, the emphasis is on identifying the functional requirements that technologies must meet so that the guidelines remain relevant as technologies evolve. It is important to explain the philosophy and strategy behind the ASE program through communications and marketing programs, public meetings, and hearings. ASE should be described as a tool that can enhance the capabilities of traffic law enforcement and that ASE will supplement, rather than re-place, traffic stops by law enforcement officers. The public should be made aware that ASE is used to improve safety, not to generate revenue or impose "big brother" surveillance. Saying this will not necessarily make it so in the eyes of the public, so it is important to explain how each element of the ASE program puts safety first and how controls are in place to prevent misuse of the system.

Safe Roads for a Safer Future