Traffic Enforcement

How is the data collected through Photo Radar or other automated tools and technology used?

Automated tools and the regular deployment of technology like Photo Radar increase the ability to collect traffic information that normal traditional techniques do not.

Information collected through tools such as radar or laser equipment allow communities to look at statistical data that provides for better opportunities to address areas of concern. Whether its speeds along a road way, through school zones or intersection violations.

Electronic tools not only assist in the immediate notification of a violation, but they also have the ability to collect valuable ongoing traffic information.

Sharing data between municipalities also assists in targeting repeat offenders across multiple jurisdictions.

Since the Photo Enforcement Program began in July 2009, a total of 27,895 tickets have been issued (as of December, 2013).

  • 90% of all violations have been paid
  • Only 2% of these were withdrawn for one reason or another
  • Only .003% of the tickets issued were quashed by the Courts.
  • Majority of violations going through the court system are being upheld as the program is seen as valid.

Audits completed through the Alberta Solicitor General’s Office have also demonstrated that Morinville does work within the guidelines developed by the Province of Alberta and in most areas it was found to exceed many of the requirements.

How does Photo Enforcement work as a component of the overall traffic safety efforts?

  • Morinville continues to educate and inform people of traffic safety in an attempt to change bad driving habits.
  • Electronic speed signs are installed to increase awareness and inform people of their speed.
  • Current Contractor provides 2 electronic speed signs at no additional cost.
  • Town has purchased a mobile electronic speed sign mounted on a trailer.
  • Photo Enforcement signage is visible in several areas of Town and posted in the local paper to provide notification and awareness.
  • Quarterly traffic reports are presented to Council and made public outlining statistics, violations per zone, general traffic information, etc.
  • Traffic reports are reviewed by Traffic Advisory Committee and information is incorporated into the Traffic & Pedestrian Safety Plan which is reviewed annually for prioritization and implementation.
  • Fine revenues have been allocated to cover costs, for example, enhancing cross-walk markings, installation of solar cross-walk lights in partnership with school divisions, curb painting, etc.
  • Educational programs are offered throughout the year including Candy Cane Check Stop, Bike Rodeo, and the High School Rollover Campaign, which are all supported by the Photo Enforcement Program.
  • Static patrol efforts are utilized in high traffic/high risk areas to compliment traditional enforcement patrols done by roving vehicles.

How much revenue is currently generated through Photo Enforcement (Laser)?

Revenue collected by Photo Enforcement are from those who chose to violate the posted speed limit. Of the tickets issued:

  • In 2013, 41% of the tickets were issued to Morinville residents, and 59% of the tickets were issued to non-residents.
  • On average, Morinville’s portion of the revenue generated by Photo Enforcement (Laser) ranges from approximately $250,000 to $350,000 per year. These funds generated from revenue sharing have been allocated according to Solicitor General’s guidelines and have funded the following:
    • Pay down the Town’s debenture on the Community Culture Centre,
    • Support the Traffic Advisory Committee with initiatives such as Positive Ticketing Program, purchase a mobile educational digital speed sign, cost-shared on the purchasing of solar lighted crosswalk signage at the schools.

What would it cost to provide a comparable level of Traffic Enforcement related to speeding without using a Contractor?

It is difficult to do a direct comparison between photo enforcement and manual enforcement of speeding. Photo enforcement can potentially capture more “speeders” within a set time period than manual simply by the fact that a manual ticket takes longer to issue.

RCMP to replace Contractor:
Morinville’s contribution toward one RCMP member is 70% plus additional annual expenses for a total of approximately $112,000 per year. To provide a similar level of coverage would require a second RCMP member. Required Administrative Clerk for 100% of their wages and benefits to support the service is approximately $75,000 per year. Total = $299,000

Additional Community Peace Officers to replace Contractor:
Morinville’s contribution towards a CPO is 100% of wages and benefits for a total of approximately $80,000 per year. To provide a similar level of coverage would require a second CPO. Addition of a dedicated CPO for traffic enforcement will require either the purchase or lease of an Enforcement vehicle ranging between $70,000 and $85,000 (one-time purchase and scheduled replacement based on Vehicle Replacement Policy). Required Administrative Clerk for 100% of their wages and benefits to support the service is approximately $75,000 per year. Total = $305,000 in year one

Regardless of whether the service is provided by the RCMP, CPO's or a combination of the two, tax dollars would be required to support the program.
Based on population, Morinville requested an additional RCMP in 2013 to enhance policing services. RCMP fill positions based on staffing priorities and availability of RCMP across Canada.

What does it cost to operate the current Photo Enforcement Program?

  • The current Photo Enforcement Program is primarily delivered by a Contractor that provides 35 to 40 hours of service to the community.
  • The Program is not currently supported by municipal tax dollars.
  • Fees (and revenues collected) are covered through a revenue share formula between the Town of Morinville, Province of Alberta and the Contractor providing the service.
  • All costs for services such as administrative support, wages, benefits, training, insurance, equipment, etc. are absorbed by the Contractor.
  • Other than a contract service amount (based on previous years actuals), no other expenses are budgeted for within the Town’s operating budget.

How is the Photo Enforcement Zone identified?

Community concerns with regards to traffic situations such as speeding come to the attention of administration or Council. Information is forwarded to Director of Corporate Operations for investigation and follow-up.

  • Director of Corporate Operations gains as much information with regards to locations, time and problem as possible.
  • The information is forwarded to Enforcement Services and the senior officer either looks into it himself or assigns it to an officer to review.
  • If needed portable speed signs and recording traffic device is deployed or static monitoring is completed by an officer
  • Information is then review by the Traffic Advisory Committee and if required the committee will use the Automated Traffic Enforcement Site Selection Justification tool to determine if a new site needs to be established.
  • Reviewed with local RCMP before site is approved.

What is a Transition Zone?

When it comes to Traffic enforcement there is technically no such thing as a transition zone. In Morinville all photo enforcement zones have been established utilizing a site selection justification evaluation process.

Pump House Location approaching East Boundary road:
Enforcement efforts focus on the intersection of 87 St. and 100 Ave. Photos capturing licence plates are taken after the violation of speeding has been confirmed at this location. Although the regulated speed is 50 km/hr even beyond Morinville boundaries, violations are not being given for speeding that takes place approaching East Boundary Road.

The speed does not change to 100 km/hr until a vehicle reaches the posted sign on Hwy 642. Similarly vehicles entering Morinville must slow to 50 km/hr before reaching Morinville boundaries, but again the focus is on the intersection.

Cardiff Road:
Cardiff road, the traffic concern identified by the Traffic Advisory Committee,was with regards to the entrance to South Glens and the close proximity of the 50 km/hr sign when west bound to the entrance. To ensure drivers are aware that they were driving in a 50km/hr zone, the zone was increased an additional 150 meters in length.

Enforcement efforts still focus on the intersection of South Glens and Cardiff Road. As a residential area the zone limit was increased to help reduce risk of serious injuries and damages from potential vehicle accidents. The County of Sturgeon took similar actions in Cardiff but speed limits were further reduced to below the 50 km/hr limit as established in Morinville. As residential development continues in the future, the Town will also continue evaluating the road and the 50 km/hr may be extended further to the east to match up with development as it occurs.

Who is responsible for traffic enforcement in Morinville?

All Traffic Enforcement conducted in the Town of Morinville is done by:

  • Community Peace Officers (CPOs) as authorized by the Province of Alberta for the Town of Morinville. All Contractor employees are CPOs authorized by the Province of Alberta
  • Police Officers employed by the Royal Canadian Mounted Police (RCMP).
  • Sheriffs authorized by the Province of Alberta.

What role do red light cameras play in Morinville?

Red light cameras is a permanent mounted or portable traffic enforcement camera that captures an image of a vehicle which has entered a controlled intersection against a red light.

  • Currently red light cameras are not used in Morinville (to be considered in dealing with intersection safety for both pedestrians and vehicles).
  • In September 2013 Morinville had 3 separate incidents where a pedestrian was struck by a vehicle at the intersection of 100 St. and 100 Ave.
  • In Alberta 25% of all accidents occur in intersections.
  • In 2013, 70 people were killed and 8,000 were injured in accidents at an intersection.
  • Edmonton, St. Albert, Sherwood Park Spruce Grove are only a few of the municipalities in the Capital Region who utilize red light camera technology.
  • Reductions in violations at intersections with red light cameras have been documented which can result in reduction in incidents.

What other types of Photo Technology are currently used in Morinville?

All traffic enforcement in Morinville typically involves and utilizes some type of Photo Technology.

Vehicle in Car Camera Systems:

  • All Morinville CPO Vehicles and RCMP vehicles are outfitted with in car video camera systems.
  • Used for both evidence and to assist with Officer Safety.
  • Can be operated manually or automatically as soon as the vehicles emergency light systems are engaged.

Pocket/Lapel Personal Camera’s

  • Used for officer safety and evidence to record public interaction when officers are carrying out their duties including any type of traffic enforcement.

Digital Cameras

  • Used by Morinville CPOs and RCMP often as part of evidence gathering including traffic enforcement incidents as simple as a parking violation.

What is a Photographic record?

A Photographic record is a picture source of evidence that is clear and difficult to challenge.
A Photographic record protects both the public and the officers for application of enforcement including traffic enforcement.

What is the difference between the various enforcement technologies such as Radar and Laser?

Radar Enforcement:

  • Traffic enforcement device mounted to an enforcement vehicle that uses radar technology to measure vehicle speeds.
  • May be used while enforcement vehicle is in motion or stationary.
  • May be linked to a camera to capture photographic record (photo radar) for the primary purpose of integrating speed and vehicle information to issue an automated ticket.
  • Currently used by Morinville CPOs and RCMP (with no photographic record).
  • Photo radar may be planned for introduction in 2014 with equipment modernization and replacement; on hold.

Laser Enforcement:

  • Traffic enforcement hand-held device that uses laser technology to measure vehicle speeds.
  • Used while enforcement vehicle is stationary, static patrols only.
  • May be linked to a camera to capture photographic record.
  • Contractor uses laser equipment directly linked to a camera.
  • CPOs and RCMP currently use handheld equipment with no direct link to a camera.
  • Currently in use in Morinville by Community Peace Officers (CPOs) and RCMP. If the officers concerns are confirmed the speed and vehicle picture are then recorded.

Why did Council send the bylaw prohibiting photo radar and red light cameras to a vote of the electors?

Under the Alberta Municipal Government Act, Council only had 2 options when presented with the petition to prohibit photo radar and red light cameras in the Town of Morinville.

  1. Approve the bylaw, or
  2. Allow the electors to vote on the bylaw

The petition represented 10% of the population, and therefore Council chose to provide an opportunity for the other 90% of the population to have a voice. The petition did not include any background information or clarity on the terms presented and therefore it was important for Council to provide the opportunity for public education and awareness on traffic and pedestrian safety.

Have questions or concerns regarding photo enforcement?