Automated Speed Enforcement

Automated speed enforcement is an automated system that uses a camera and a speed measurement device to help enforce posted speed limits in community safety zones.

The Automated Speed Enforcement program is an important part of the Region's Vision Zero initiative. Vision Zero is focused on reducing and eventually eliminating serious injuries and fatalities on Regional roads.

How automated speed enforcement works

An automated speed enforcement camera takes a picture and records the speed of any vehicle travelling over the posted speed limit.

The information is downloaded and sent to the Joint Processing Centre in Toronto. Provincial offences officers at the Joint Processing Centre review the images and decide if a ticket should be issued. The Joint Processing Centre sends the ticket to the vehicle owner. Niagara Courts receives a copy of the ticket and is responsible for collecting fines and resolving disputes.

How automated speed enforcement improves safety

Speed contributes to a third of all fatal collisions in Canada. When people drive the posted speed limit, roads are safer. Automated speed enforcement complements police activities by enforcing safer speeds. This reduces collisions, fatalities and injuries, and makes for more walkable and safe communities.

Results of automated speed enforcement in Niagara

Results from the first few months of the Automated Speed Enforcement program show that drivers slow down when cameras are used, making roads safer.

Data collected before, during and after the automated speed enforcement cameras were put in place shows that:

  • Average driving speed dropped by 13 per cent
  • Speeding violations per hour dropped by 67 per cent
  • Speeds remained low even after the cameras were removed

Moderate changes in speed make big a difference in safety. Changing speed is key to reducing serious collisions, injuries and fatalities on Regional roads.

Locations and schedule

Automated speed enforcement cameras rotate through Niagara's community safety zones. Each unit stays in place for about 90 days before rotating to the next location.

We use a camera mounted on a fixed pole with a camera housing. The camera housing stays in place on the pole empty while the camera itself is rotated to other locations.

A "Municipal Speed Camera Coming Soon" sign is installed at least 90 days before camera enforcement begins. A "Municipal Speed Camera In-Use" sign indicates when cameras are active.

All rotation schedules are tentative and subject to change.

  • April to July 2024
    • Niagara Falls - Montrose Road between Watson Street and Lundy's Lane (Greendale Elementary School)
    • Niagara-on-the-Lake - York Road between Queenston Road and Concession 3 Road (St. David's Public School)
    • St. Catharines - Louth Street between Rykert Street and Pelham Road (DSBN Academy)
    • West Lincoln - Townline Road between Harvest Gate and Canborough Road (Smithville District Christian High School)
  • July to November 2024
    • Fort Erie - Central Avenue between Gilmore Road and Bertie Street (Our Lady of Victory Catholic Elementary School)
    • Grimsby - Livingstone Avenue between Roberts Road and Patton Street (Blessed Trinity Catholic Secondary School)
    • Niagara Falls - Lundy's Lane between Kalar Road and Montrose Road (West Lane Secondary School)
    • Welland - Rice Road between Quaker Road and Woodlawn Road (Alexander Kuska Catholic Elementary School)

See the locations for automated speed enforcement and red light cameras on a map.

How locations were selected

Automated speed enforcement cameras are used only in community safety zones. These are zones where public safety is of special concern. Community safety zones often include school zones, but may also include areas such as retirement homes, daycares or recreational areas such as parks. In these zones, fines are doubled for speeding and traffic related offences.

Future additions of cameras and locations

Niagara Region's current program has four cameras that rotate through community safety zones. The program will expand to eight cameras in 2025 and 12 cameras in 2026. In the first two years of the program, cameras will operate on Regional roads only. By year three, cameras will also rotate to select local roads.

Automated speed enforcement and road signs

Provincial legislation requires there to be signs alerting drivers of speed cameras. Niagara Region's signs are compliant with provincial guidelines in the following ways, we:

  • Provide community safety zone and speed limit signs alongside the use of speed cameras
  • Meet the standards for size, height, print and wording that are outlined in the Highway Traffic Act
  • Post "coming soon" signs for at least 90 days before enforcement starts
  • Post "in use" signs when the cameras are active
  • Post signs next to the camera unit

Niagara Region also provides enhanced notice to drivers which goes beyond legislative requirements, we:

  • Post signs in both directions where cameras are in use
  • Add a "New" starburst to signs

The Municipal Joint Processing Centre, the location where camera images are reviewed by provincial offence officers, directly reviews and approves the location and placement of all signs around an automated speed enforcement camera before the beginning of enforcement. This includes the community safety zone, speed limit and municipal speed camera "Coming Soon" and "In Use" signs.

Speed limit signs in community safety zones with a school

Flashing beacons in school zones cannot be used when automated speed enforcement is in place. It is consistent in Ontario that flashing beacons are removed and replaced with static signs when cameras are installed. This is because cameras cannot determine if the beacon is flashing at the time of the photo. Therefore, they cannot give enough evidence to meet the requirements under the Automated Speed Enforcement regulation of the Highway Traffic Act.

Traffic monitoring in Niagara shows that automated speed enforcement is much more effective at slowing down vehicles than flashing beacons.

Speed thresholds

The Region does not share the automated speed enforcement thresholds. The law is clear that drivers are to travel at the posted speed limit. The threshold for tickets issued through automated speed enforcement programs is consistent across all cities / towns in Ontario.

Times of enforcement

Automated speed enforcement may operate at any time of day, year-round. Community safety zones are areas where safety is of special concern such as schools, parks, retirement homes and daycares. These areas accommodate activities that extend beyond "core hours". For example, extracurricular school programs, before and after-hours child care, visitors to school playgrounds off-hours or pedestrian activity next to seniors homes.

Other traffic calming measures

As part of Vision Zero, we use different approaches to manage driving speeds on Regional roads. Some examples of approaches include speed display signs and centerline bollards.

Automated speed enforcement is an effective tool used alongside these other approaches. Speed bumps are not recommended on Regional roads because they are built to carry greater traffic volumes and faster-travelling commercial trucks.

Costs

The Automated Speed Enforcement program has been cost-neutral so far. This means that the program costs, such as signs, cameras and ticket processing, have been offset by fines over the course of a full budget year. In the future, if collected fines are more than operational costs, the funds must be reinvested into road safety initiatives that protect the public. These funds cannot be used for any other purpose. This maintains the program's integrity and ensures enforcement is not tied to a financial incentive.

Testing and verification of cameras

Automated speed enforcement cameras are tested and verified by the Joint Processing Centre in Toronto before active enforcement starts. Under the Highway Traffic Act, cameras must be tested every 12 months.

You can find the Automated Speed Enforcement System Certificates of Accuracy by entering the location and offence date on your ticket into the search tool.

Violations and fines

Tickets

The ticket is issued to the registered plate holder of the vehicle, even if they were not the one driving at the time.

Tickets are mailed to vehicle owners when a provincial offences officer determines that a driver has violated the speed limit. Under the Highway Traffic Act, the Joint Processing Centre has a 23-day period to review the evidence and issue a ticket through the mail. It may take up to seven more days to arrive in the mail. This time period for tickets is a province-wide standard.

There is no maximum number of tickets someone can receive. A ticket will be issued to the registered plate owner each time their vehicle exceeds the speed limit when a municipal speed camera is in use.

Owner liability

The system issuing tickets to the vehicle owner is legislation known as owner liability. Other examples of owner liability include parking tickets and red-light camera tickets. Owner liability allows tickets to be issued to the vehicle owner when the driver cannot be identified. Automated Speed Enforcement programs do not allow capturing images of individuals who are driving. Therefore, the registered plate holder receives the ticket.

No demerit points are issued by the Ministry of Transportation for owner liability offences.

It is the vehicle owner's responsibility to ensure that their plated and insured vehicle is operated by a licensed, safe driver. If you will be allowing someone to use your vehicle you can look up a Driver's licence status.

Fines

The total payable amount includes the following:

  • The set fine. This is determined by the Chief Judge of the Ontario Court of Justice. This is specific to the rate of speed over the speed limit the vehicle was travelling when the image was taken. See Schedule D - Highway Traffic Act Speeding - Community Safety Zone.
  • A victim surcharge. This is an amount based on the set fine, levied by the province on all provincial offence tickets whether issued by automated enforcement or not.
  • A $5 court cost. Demerit points are not issued with violations detected by automated speed enforcement.

How to pay fines

You can pay in-person, by mail or online. For more information about tickets and fines, see Provincial Offences Court.

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