DTLR Transport Local Government Regions
Cost Recovery System for Traffic Safety
Cameras First Year Report Executive Summary
Enforcement cameras were first introduced into
the UK in 1991. A number of research studies have proved that
they are an extremely effective mechanism for reducing road casualties.
A cost-benefit analysis in 1996
showed that cameras paid for themselves five times in the first
year of operation alone, once the full benefits to society are
consideredincluding to the Health Service.
There is an established relationship between
reducing speed collisions: research by TRL
in 1993 showed that just a one mph reduction in speed reduces
collisions by 5 per cent. This figure has now been validated in
a more recent study in 2000 also by TRL.
In December 1998, the then DETR, Home Office
and Treasury agreed that fine income from speed and red light
cameras could be used to fund additional camera enforcementa
recommendation from the original 1996 report. This process was
termed hypothecation, although "netting off" is a more
technically correct term and will be used in this summary.
Because of the complexity of the arrangements
needed to make netting-off work, it was decided to pilot the approach
in a number of areas. The pilot aimed to demonstrate how best
to develop a workable relationship between local partnerships
comprising local police forces, highways authorities, magistrates'
courts and, where appropriate, the Highways Agency.
In 1999, 13 areas submitted bids to pilot the
scheme and eight were selected reflecting a balance of geographies,
casualty problems and also different approaches to enforcement.
The areas chosen were Cleveland, Essex, Lincolnshire, Nottingham,
Northamptonshire, South Wales, Strathclyde and Thames Valley.
These pilots went live in April 2000 and the
pilots have been monitored against a number of criteria. The main
Speed and casualtycan the
partnerships demonstrate an effect on speed and casualties in
Public acceptancedoes the
public acknowledge that the primary reason for speed and red-light
cameras is road safety?
Financial aspectshave the
financial arrangements worked without distorting operational priorities?
This document is an executive summary of the
full report from the first year of operation. The full report
will be published in October 2001, once all of the casualty figures
have been validated against Road Accidents Great Britain (RAGB)
2. EFFECT ON
As mentioned earlier, a one mph reduction in
speed equates to around a 5 per cent reduction in collisions.
This section reviews the success of the pilot in reducing speed
at camera enforcement sites.
In order to monitor the effect of enforcement
on speeding, surveys were conducted both before and at various
intervals after the introduction of camera. Data was collected
at over 100 of the camera sites and involved over 800 separate
speed surveys throughout the year.
These demonstrate that cameras do reduce speed
and a consequential reduction in casualties should be expected.
On average the percentage of drivers
exceeding the speed limit at pilot camera sites reduced from 55
per cent to 16 per cent.
Excess speed (more than 15mph over
the speed limit) at camera sites has virtually been eliminated.
The percentage of drivers exceeding the speed limit by more than
15mph at camera sites has reduced from an average of 5 per cent
before enforcement to just 1 per cent afterwards.
The increase in enforcement is reducing
the average speed at these sites. Average speed at the camera
sites has reduced on average by 5.6mph. we would, therefore, expect
to see a reduction in collisions in these high-risk sites of around
30 per cent (based on one mph reduction in speed equals 5 per
cent reduction in collisions).
3. EFFECT ON
The 1996 cost benefit study, referred to earlier,
proved that speed cameras reduced casualties by around 28 per
cent (red-light cameras by 18 per cent) at camera sites. The eight
pilot areas have been monitored to assess whether or not they
could demonstrate a similar reduction in casualties.
The principle measure of the success of the
pilots is whether or not there is evidence that casualties have
fallen in the camera sites. The camera sites were selected on
the basis of their speed related casualty history. All areas collected
three years worth of data on the number of personal injury collisions
(PIC) and the number of people killed and seriously injured (KSI)
in the three years prior to the start of the pilot and subsequentlysee
Appendix A for definitions. This has been used to compare the
number of actual collisions and casualties experienced once the
cameras were introduced with those expected (based on an average
for three previous years). Results are summarised below.
3.1 Effect on casualties in the immediate
vicinity of the cameras
All areas were required to identify the total
number of KSI's and PIC's in the three year period in the immediate
vicinity of the cameras. The number of casualties and collisions
has been monitored over the first full year of the pilot. Before
and after casualty data has been analysed for over 250 sites.
Results for the camera sites have been very
On average there were 35 per cent
fewer collisions at camera sites (compared to 28 per cent in 1996
report). This means there were 379 fewer collisions at the selected
sites as a result of increased enforcement. This represents a
reduction in the number of collisions of 1.5 collisions per site.
On average there were 47 per cent
fewer people killed and seriously injured at the camera sites.
On the basis of historical trend data it is estimated there were
109 fewer people killed or seriously injured as a result of increased
enforcement. Evidence from South Wales and Cleveland also indicate
that the initiative has been particularly successful in reducing
casualties among those most at risk from road collisionschildren
Using DTLR figures it is possible
to estimate that £27 million has been saved by the reduction
of casualties and collisions at safety camera sites.
On the evidence collected to date, the cameras
are having a substantial impactparticularly in those areas
that have a particular speed and casualty problem. This strengthens
the accepted wisdom that cameras should be located in high-speed,
high-risk sites and the importance of getting the enforcement
strategy right at the start.
3.2 Effect on casualties in the wider partnership
It was not expected that a crackdown on speeding
at certain casualty black spots would have an immediate effect
on casualties in the partnership area as a whole (as opposed to
specific camera sites). However, taken together, the pilot areas
demonstrate a decline in both casualties and collisions. Not all
of this should be claimed as a direct result of the additional
camera enforcementmost areas had a strategy that comprised
education and engineering as well as enforcement. However, at
least some of the decrease is likely to be attributable to cameras
and associated publicity.
In total, the number of people killed
and seriously injured in the eight pilot areas is down by 18 per
The total number of collisions in
the eight pilot areas is down by 6 per cent.
Initial comparison with published
RAGB data on the first nine months of the pilot (April to December
2001) suggests that the pilot areas are showing a reduction in
fatal and serious injuries which is twice that for the rest of
There is some evidence that the cameras are
having a positive effect beyond the immediate areas where the
cameras are operating, although this should not be overstated.
However, it is certainly clear that camera enforcement is having
a substantial positive impact on the collision black spots targeted.
4. LOCAL REACTION
In 1999 a DETR research paper was published
that measured public perception to speed cameras (Road Safety
Research Report No 11: The effects of speed cameras: how drivers
respond). This included a self-completion questionnaire that asked
a number of questions regarding drivers perception of speed cameras.
They were asked whether or not they agreed with a number of statements.
By and large, results then indicated that the
public was generally supportive. One of the risks of the increase
in enforcement was that public reaction could change and some
pilot areas carried out public surveys to monitor whether or not
this was the case. To make comparisons between the pilots and
the original research, partnerships included a series of standard
||Lincolnshire||Average or new surveys
|"Fewer accidents are likely to happen on roads where cameras are installed" (% agree)
|"Cameras mean that dangerous drivers are now more likely to get caught" (% agree)
|"Cameras are an easy way of making money out of motorists"
|"Cameras are meant to encourage drivers to keep to the lmits, not punish them" (% agree)
In summary, there has been little adverse reaction
locally to the fact that the partnerships were retaining the fines
from cameras to reinvest in their operation. In fact, most people
presumed this was the case already.
The number of requests received from the public
for cameras to be introduced in their area has substantially exceeded
the number of complaints about their operation.
Local press coverage has been monitored in terms
of the number of inches of positive, negative and neutral coverage.
Partnerships have been proactive in informing the public about
the camera locations and as a result around 90 per cent of press
coverage has been positive (4 per cent negative and 6 per cent
On balance the majority of the public in local partnership
areas appears to be supportive of cameras, especially if the reasons
for their use are well communicated and they are highly visible.
5. FINANCIAL ASPECTS
It was important when setting up the systems for "netting
off" that arrangements were put in place to prevent potential
abuse. Detailed rules about participating in the scheme were developed
and these have been adhered to throughout.
In summary, the rules for the pilot were as follows:
Pilots should be made up of the local highway
authorities, the courts and the police.
Only the cost of enforcing speed and red-light
cameras was considered to be an allowable expenditure at this
stagethe rules were set out in a handbook which detailed
what was considered to be allowable expenditure.
No organisation is allowed to make a "profit"
out of the scheme. Any surplus of fine income over costs incurred
has to be returned to the Treasury.
All cameras should be located in casualty black
spots with a history of speed-related collisions.
Speed surveys should be conducted prior to camera
operation to prove that speeding is a problem at each site.
At the end of the year partnerships are subject
to a full audit by the district auditor. This will examine how
the money has been spent. Failure to receive a clean audit certificate
could result in removal of the privilege to retain the funds.
Three trial audits have been conducted to ensure
that the rules are being adhered to. District auditors are currently
reviewing the end of year accounts for the eight areas. Any lessons
learned from this exercise will be used to inform any further
partnerships joining the scheme.
There is no evidence to suggest that operational priorities
have been distorted in any way (eg that the scheme has been used
to "make money" from the motorist). Mechanisms are in
place to identify any abuse and the lessons learned from the pilot
areas will be used to inform any subsequent rollout of the scheme.
As a result of experiences in the pilot areas, the rules for national
rollout have been refined and it is expected that this will help
build on the successes achieved to date.
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Taylor M C, Lynam D A and Baruya A (2000). The effects of drivers'
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