OTTAWA -- Photo radar cameras could be keeping an eye on speeders at dozens of new locations on Ottawa roads over the next five years, as the city eyes a major expansion of the automated speed enforcement program.

A report for the Transportation Committee meeting on Oct. 6 recommends the city of Ottawa install 15 new cameras in Community Safety Zones by the end of 2022, with an additional 15 to 25 cameras a year set up on Ottawa roads during the next term of council.

A one-year pilot of the automated speed enforcement (ASE) system at eight locations in Ottawa resulted in 101,778 tickets issued for speeding between July 2020 and July 2021, netting $5.4 million in revenue.

"The ASE pilot project has proven successful at reducing traffic speeds with a 200 per cent increase in compliance with the speed limit and a 72 per cent decrease in the percentage of high-end speeders at the pilot sites," said staff, noting the goal of the automated speed enforcement is to reduce traffic speeds where the cameras are installed.

Ottawa launched the automated speed enforcement pilot project on July 13, 2020, designating eight Community Safety Zones for photo radar cameras. The city initially purchased four cameras, with one camera permanently installed on Bayshore Drive and another camera set up on Innes Road. The other two cameras rotated between six locations across Ottawa.

Two more cameras were purchased in December 2020 and two more were installed last winter, meaning all eight Community Safety Zones have permanent photo radar cameras.

The report on the automated speed enforcement pilot project notes speeds declined within five months of the cameras being installed.

"The number of speeding incidents were high when a speed camera was initially installed at a site," said staff. "But the number of charges typically decreased, month-over-month, as drivers became aware of the cameras and speeds started to reduce, levelling off after approximately five months."

At the photo radar camera on Longfields Drive, between Highbury Park Drive and Verona Avenue, the percentage of high-end speeders, going 15 km/h an hour over the speed limit, decreased by 85 per cent during the pilot project.  On Watters Drive, the percentage of high-end speeders dropped 86 per cent while the photo radar camera was operational.

Revenue from all photo radar camera tickets will be allocated to Road Safety initiatives in the city of Ottawa, including the expanded use of the automated speed enforcement program. 

The Traffic Services Department recommends installing 15 cameras near schools at a rate of three cameras per quarter until the end of 2022. Staff say the new locations were selected based on prioritized school area locations.

  • Tenth Line Road from Amiens Street to Des Epinettes Avenue (near Sir Wilfrid Laurier Secondary School)
  • Bearbrook Road from Centrepark Drive to Innes Road (near Good Shepherd Catholic School and Emily Carr Middle School)
  • Greenbank Road from Jockvale Road to Half Moon Bay (near St. Joseph High School)
  • Kanata Avenue from Goulbourn Forced Road to Walden Drive (near All Saints High School)
  • Abbott Street East from Moss Hill Trail to Shea Road (near Sacred Heart High School)
  • Stittsville Main Street from Bandelier Way to Hazeldean Road (near St. Stephen School)
  • Woodroffe Avenue from Georgina Drive to Highway 417 (near D. Roy Kennedy Public School)
  • Greenbank Road from Harrison Street to Banner Road (near Sir Robert Borden High School)
  • St. Laurent Boulevard from Noranda Avenue to Clarke Avenue (near Queen Elizabeth Public School)
  • Fisher Avenue from Deer Park Road to Kintyre Private (near St. Pius X elementary school and high school)
  • Alta Vista Drive from Ayers Avenue to Ridgemont Avenue (near Charles H. Hulse Public School and Ridgemont High School)
  • Crestway Drive from Oldfield Street to Hathaway Drive (near St. Andrew School)
  • Chapman Mills Drive from Beatrice Drive to Meadgate Gate (near St. Emily school, Jean-Robert Gauthier Elementary School and Chapman Mills Public School)
  • Abbeyhill Drive from Aldburn Place to Sherwood Street (near A.Y. Jackson Secondary School)
  • Bridgestone Drive from Sunnybrooke Drive to Granite Court (near Maurice-Lapointe Public Elementary School)

The report recommends installing between 15 and 25 new ASE cameras in the next term of council, each year, over the four-year period, starting in 2023. Traffic Services will send a memo to Council by the end of each year outlining the proposed locations, with costs approved in each budget.

If council decides to expand the photo radar program, new employees will be hired at ServiceOttawa, Legal Services, Revenue Services and other departments to operate the program and deliver the initiatives under the Road Safety Action Plan.

Here are the eight current locations for photo radar cameras in Ottawa:

  • Bayshore Drive near 50 Bayshore Drive
  • Katimavik Road between Castlefrank Road and McGibbon Drive
  • Ogilvie Road between Appleford Street and Elmlea Gate
  • Smyth Road between Haig Drive and Edgecomb Street
  • Meadowlands Drive West between Winthrow Avenue and Thatcher Street
  • Innes Road between Provence Avenue and Trim Road
  • Longfields Drive, between Highbury Park Drive and Via Verona Avenue
  • Watters Drive, between Charlemagne Boulevard and Roberval Avenue

A road safety survey conducted by The Strategic Counsel for the city of Ottawa found 87 per cent of respondents supported the use of photo radar cameras near a school zone, including 85 per cent of respondents who said they received a ticket from the program.

The survey found 79 per cent of drivers said the ticket prompted them to modifying their driving behaviour, including reducing their speed.