Frequently Asked Questions

What is Automated Speed Enforcement (ASE)? 
ASE, also referred to as an automated system that uses a camera and a speed measurement device to enforce speed limits, is a speed enforcement tool that uses technology to help make roads safer for all road users. An ASE system captures and records images of vehicles travelling in excess of the posted speed limit in school zones and community safety zones with tickets issued to the registered plate holder regardless of who was driving. This will result in a monetary fine, but no demerit points will be applied.


Where is ASE being implemented?
The Highway Traffic Act only authorizes the use of ASE in school zones and community safety zones.

What is a school zone? 
A school zone is an area of road in close proximity to a school. School zones are designated by by-law passed by municipal councils as described in the Highway Traffic Act. Typically, school zones have reduced speed limits that are put into effect, either by time of day or 24/7, within 150 metres in front of a school.

What is a community safety zone? 
A community safety zone is an area designated through a by-law passed by a municipal council to identify it as a road segment of higher risk or concern. Certain Highway Traffic Act fines (including speeding) are doubled in community safety zones and many community safety zones are located close to schools.

Is ASE a mandatory program for municipalities?
No. Each municipality in Ontario is determining, based on the needs of its community, whether to implement ASE.

Why are municipalities choosing to implement ASE?
In May 2017, Ontario’s Highway Traffic Act was amended to introduce the use of ASE in municipalities to address ongoing issues with speeding in school zones and community safety zones. Operating speeds within school zones are typically lower than other road segments, however, the risks are much higher. Speeding around schools puts the lives of our most vulnerable people at unnecessary risk and ASE is designed to slow drivers down and keep our neighbourhoods safe. 

Why have some municipalities chosen to participate and not others?
Although many municipalities have issues with excessive speed in both school zones and community safety zones, others may not. Each municipality uses different methods and techniques to help enforce speed limits – which are laws, not guidelines. ASE is another one of those methods, one that has proven to be effective in other Canadian provinces and around the world. Municipalities have been collecting speed data in school zones and community safety zones, data which is now being used to pinpoint where ASE can be implemented to help protect our most vulnerable road users.

Why don’t municipalities use other measures to reduce speed in school zones and community safety zones? 
ASE is one of many tools used, along with engineering activities, education initiatives and police enforcement, to help reduce speed in areas with vulnerable populations such as school zones and community safety zones.

Why is ASE being used instead of traditional enforcement? 
While traditional enforcement will still be used, ASE is a complementary method that enables police officers to focus on other critical and time-sensitive tasks. Through ASE, incidents of speeding can be detected on an ongoing and consistent basis, ensuring that school children and other road users always feel safe, not just during traffic blitzes. Using ASE consistently also lends to altering driver behaviour for ongoing road safety.

How will ASE reduce road-related injuries and deaths? 
Using technology that supports road safety can help to alter driver behaviour and enforce speed limits in school zones and community safety zones. ASE is one approach to protecting children and other vulnerable road users.

How do we know ASE will be effective? 
Several other jurisdictions across North America, and indeed the world, have relied on ASE as a speed enforcement tool with great success. The use of ASE systems has resulted in better speed compliance, fewer collisions and less severity in the collisions that do occur. 

Examples include:

  1. Quebec, in 2016, reported its speed enforcement program reduced average speeds by 13.3 km/h and reduced crashes by 15 to 42 per cent at ASE sites.

  2. Saskatchewan, which saw an overall reduction of speed in school zones (specifically in Saskatoon, Regina and Moose Jaw) following the piloting of an ASE program with 56 per cent of Saskatchewan residents wanting the program to continue and 93 per cent of those wanting it to continue, also wanting it to expand. An evaluation of the pilot also showed that average vehicle speeds fell by up to 17 per cent and speed-related casualty collisions by 63 per cent, resulting in 51 per cent fewer injuries.

  3. New York City, which has one of the most extensive and robust ASE programs in North America. During its 140-camera pilot program, the presence of cameras reduced speeding by 63 per cent and pedestrian injuries by 23 per cent. In 2018, the program was reinstituted. 

In addition, several statistics and studies also demonstrate the need for ASE including: 

  • A 2016 study completed by the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety (IIHS), which showed that the proportion of vehicles exceeding the speed limit by more than 10 mph in Arizona, Maryland and Washington D.C. declined by 70, 88 and 82 per cent respectively within six to eight months of ASE implementation.

  • An evaluation of the Photo Enforcement Safety Program in the City of Winnipeg (Winnipeg Study), which indicates that speed cameras are as effective as police enforcement when it comes to issuing tickets to alter driver behaviour and reduce road traffic injuries and deaths where speed is a factor. The evaluation also analyzed the results of 35 additional studies that met its inclusion criteria and found that photo enforcement resulted in a reduction in average speed ranging from 1 to 15 per cent along with a reduction in the proportion of vehicles speeding ranging from 14 to 65 per cent. 

  • ASE system questions 

    How will municipalities decide where to place the cameras?
    Municipalities are taking a data-driven approach to identifying where to place ASE in their communities. Municipalities across Ontario capture speed data in their communities on a regular basis and this data is now being used to identify exactly where speed is a factor in road and pedestrian safety in school zones and community safety zones, and where ASE can be implemented to help make a difference for those municipalities who choose to implement it.


    How will drivers know that a location is equipped with ASE?
    ASE is about safety and transparency and clear signage will be posted within each school zone and community safety zone where a system is in place and active. There will also be signs installed prior to the issuance of tickets to let motorists know that these systems will be installed in the near future.


    Which school zones and community safety zones in each municipality will ASE be located and at what time of the day? 
    Each municipality is using speed data captured in their own communities to identify locations where ASE will be most effective. The duration of how long ASE will be active at each location is being determined by the individual municipalities, however, it is important to note that clear signage will be posted where ASE is present.


    Are threshold speeds being disclosed?
    No. As speed limits are not guidelines – they are the law – there is no need to disclose threshold speeds. Driving at, or below, the posted limit will ensure a ticket is not issued.


    How accurate is an ASE system when detecting speed?
    ASE is just as accurate at detecting speed as traditional speed measurement devices used by police.


    Does the ASE system capture and store video footage as well as images?
    No. As the ASE system being used in Ontario is not a video-based system, only a still image of the license plate is captured.

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