Automated Traffic Enforcement FAQs

What is automated traffic enforcement?

The City of Red Deer’s Automated traffic enforcement program includes photo radar, red light cameras and intersection speed cameras. These tools, along with enforcement traffic duty and education campaigns, help to make Red Deer’s roads safer. By reducing speed, both the number and severity of collisions is reduced.

Why is automated traffic enforcement used?

Automated traffic enforcement is just one tool that we use to encourage safe driving in Red Deer. Automated traffic enforcement encourages drivers to slow down and drive safely without taking away from other priorities and enforcement efforts of police officers in our city. Many other cities use automated traffic enforcement and have seen improvements in overall road safety.

For example, a 2015 study in Edmonton found that photo radar showed consistent reductions in different collision severities: 15 per cent reduction in total collisions, 20 per cent reduction in fatal and injury collisions, 14 per cent reduction in property-damage only collisions, and 18 per cent reduction in speed related collisions. Further, since Intersection Safety Devices were implemented in 2009, Edmonton has seen a 12 per cent reduction in total collisions, a 43 per cent reduction in angle collisions, and a 14 per cent reduction in rear-end collisions.

Calgary implemented Intersection Safety Cameras (red light and intersection speed cameras) in 2011 and has seen a 7 per cent decrease in total collisions, 4 per cent decrease in injury collisions and 100 per cent decrease in fatal collisions.

How is the revenue from Automated Traffic Enforcement used?

Regardless of whether a ticket is issued through conventional enforcement or automated traffic enforcement, including photo radar, red light cameras and intersection speed cameras, the revenue is split between the province and The City – 41.67 per cent goes to the province, which includes 15 per cent for a victim surcharge, and the balance (58.3 per cent) remains with The City. The City portion, minus administrative costs, goes directly toward policing services in our city.

Why were intersection speed cameras added to the automated traffic enforcement program?

Speed is a leading cause of serious and fatal collisions, and intersection speed cameras are intended to remind drivers to slow down and follow the posted speed limits without taking away from other priorities and enforcement efforts of police officers in our city. In Red Deer, 66 per cent of all collisions and 81 per cent of collisions involving injuries occur at intersections. A speed study at one Red Deer intersection showed more than 50 per cent of motorists drove over the ticketing threshold. By decreasing speed at intersections, we can decrease the number and severity of collisions.

At intersections, is every vehicle photographed?

Only vehicles committing a red light or speed infraction are recorded. In the case of a red light, only vehicles that are entering an intersection after the light turns red and do not come to a full stop prior to entering the intersection are recorded. Drivers who enter on yellow and find themselves in an intersection when the light changes to red are not recorded. In the case of a speed infraction, any vehicle that enters the intersection over the set threshold speed will be captured by the camera. A speed infraction will be recorded on any light phase – red, yellow or green. It is possible to receive two tickets if a vehicle enters an intersection on a red light and above the speed limit.

Are tickets reviewed before they are mailed out?

Yes, trained City of Red Deer personnel review every recording to verify the vehicle is in violation of the traffic signal. Tickets are mailed to vehicle owners where it is evident the vehicle ran the red light or was over the set threshold speed.

How are locations for automated traffic enforcement selected?

Automated traffic enforcement is used in school and playground zones, and major traffic arteries and intersections where collisions, violation rates and safety are a concern. Photo radar locations are posted on our website and shared with local media monthly.

Isn’t regular enforcement enough?

It is difficult for police to enforce red-light and speed infractions at intersections because the police must follow offenders through the intersection, potentially against the light, to catch them. This can endanger other motorists, cyclists and pedestrians, as well as the officers. The cameras allow police to focus on other enforcement priorities. For more details on the effectiveness of Automated Traffic Enforcement, see our 2022 Annual Traffic Report (pdf).

Automated traffic enforcement is just one tool that police use to improve road safety on our streets. The RCMP Traffic Unit uses a broad range of tactics to encourage safe driving, including proactive enforcement, safety events and campaigns, community outreach and responding to citizen complaints/inquiries.  

Can I get a ticket for turning right on a red at an intersection with a red light camera?

If you fail to come to a full stop before turning right at a red light at intersections equipped with a red light camera, you will get a ticket. Based upon the recording, it can be proven that a vehicle has failed to stop prior to making a right hand turn on a red light.

What are the changes to the automated traffic enforcement program?

The City of Red Deer’s ATE program was already meeting or exceeding many of the guidelines put forth by the Government of Alberta. Only a few of the recommendations required minor changes to the ATE program. Municipal Policing Services implemented the following changes in December 2022.

  1. Signage at ATE enforcement locations: Since August 2022, The City has been using new signage to help notify motorists where our ATE equipment is conducting enforcement. Reflective decals encouraging motorist to “DRIVE SAFE” now accompany the white trucks at ATE enforcement locations.
  2. Sharing ATE enforcement locations: The City has already been posting our ATE locations on for years. To meet new guidelines, we have added social media to our advertising strategy, alongside our practice of issuing monthly media releases to local outlets. To find out the monthly ATE locations, follow @cityofreddeer on Twitter/X or visit this page.

  3. Posting annual reports: The City posts the annual ATE program report here:  2022 Annual Traffic Report (pdf).

2023 Automated Traffic Enforcement Guidelines (pdf)