A Quick Note on Automated Enforcement

In a Washington Post column yesterday, Courtland Milloy quoted from an email I wrote stating WABA’s position on speed cameras, implying that we favored a more punitive automated enforcement system.  That is a significant mischaracterization of the position stated. Mr. Milloy’s column speaks for itself, so I will not respond to its points here.  However, the full email from which he quotes is pasted below, typos and all.
Thanks for creating an opportunity for the public to comment on automated enforcement priorities.  As I’m sure you’ve guessed, WABA strongly supports the expansion of automated enforcement.  Understanding that there are both public safety and political considerations on the matter, we hope to see the automated enforcement program used in a manner to promote the greatest overall impact on roadway safety for vulnerable roadway users.
In our view, that includes setting fines at a level that provides deterrence of unsafe behavior but not at such a punitive level that the continued placement of cameras is curtailed.  Essentially, we would prefer broadly distributed automated enforcement designed to keep motorist speed within the safe and legal range.  If lowering of fines so that they not seem punitive is necessary to the expansion of the program, we support such lowering up to the point the deterrent effects begin to erode.
Additionally, we hope that a significant portion of the funds generated through automated enforcement will be designated improve roadway safety.  Other jurisdictions have used funding from cameras in school zones to provide additional funds for Safe Routes to School programming.  In DC, where SRTS funding is relatively strong, funding from such cameras could be used to bolster funding for traffic calming, road diets, retrofits of high-crash areas, or–in the most direct linkage–specifically for interventions to reduce design speeds of roadway segments in which data reveals that automated enforcement is failing to deter speeding.
If additional detail would be helpful, please feel free to reach out on this issue any time.  We completely support the program, with a primary goal of deterrence of unsafe behavior and–failing that–the use of funds derived from penalties to create safer conditions.