Automated speed enforcement cameras coming to 2 Toronto school zones in pilot project

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WATCH ABOVE: Toronto Mayor John Tory unveiled the first photo radar to hit the Toronto area since 1994. The cameras have been installed by a Don Mills school zone with the aim of protecting children while crossing a busy intersection. Tom Hayes has more.

As part of the City of Toronto‘s Vision Zero Road Safety Program, Mayor John Tory has unveiled a location for the new photo radar or “automated speed enforcement” (ASE) devices as part of the pilot.

ASE devices use photo-radar to collect data on the speeds of vehicles, as well as the volume of traffic.

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The new devices have been installed at Don Mills Road and Overlea Boulevard, the first of two places where the new project will be piloted. Four cameras at the intersection will measure north-south traffic as well as speed.

“Using available technology that supports road safety and reduces driving speeds is a modern approach to protecting our residents,” said Mayor John Tory. “I firmly believe we are on the right track by installing these cameras in school zones and that Toronto residents want these initiatives in place to help make our roads safer for everyone.”

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The pilot will last for four months and will collect data from school zones located on “local, collector and minor arterial roads,” said a statement sent out Tuesday. “The ASE units will be used to collect the speeds and volume of vehicles. The data collected will also be used for educational and outreach purposes, aimed at protecting vulnerable road users, reducing excessive speed and making communities safer for everyone.”

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Tory said the new project is not meant to be a tool to issue tickets or administer charges to drivers as the province of Ontario has yet to enact regulations allowing this. However, the ASE program is said to be fully operational by the end of 2019.

“I will just pledge to you right now that if there is a council policy that stands in the way of issuing warnings then we will remedy that at the first available opportunity at the beginning of 2019,” said Tory.

“But for the moment, my understanding is that because of a council policy that doesn’t authorize us to issue warnings from technology like this we can’t do that, and so if that turns out to be the case I’ll get that authority.”

The Vision Zero Safety Program emphasizes the safety of pedestrians, cyclists, school children and motorcyclists and is focused on eliminating fatalities and reducing serious injuries. The City has invested a total of $109 million into the five-year program.