A study of the effectiveness of the 11 speed cameras installed on county roads states they have had mixed results in terms of safety.

County Administrator Chuck Huckelberry said the accident rate for the entire Pima County road system has declined by 19 percent since the inception of speed-photo enforcement, but only by 13 percent in the areas where the cameras are in place.

He said drivers have become aware of the cameras and have largely adjusted their driving behavior for the immediate area, but not for the length of their commute.

“The use of fixed, stand-alone cameras generally has not been as effective as hoped in reducing speeds and crashes because drivers tend to rapidly decrease their speed before reaching the camera and then speed up quickly after passing the camera,” Huckelberry wrote in a memo to the county Board of Supervisors.

The five-year contract has generated more than 100,000 tickets, but the number peaked in 2010 as drivers learned to slow down in the busy traffic corridors.

The county gets about $47 per ticket issued by the photo enforcement system.

The county staff had suggested a mobile photo enforcement system might be viable in terms of slowing traffic, but Huckelberry said he had concerns about the increased costs and effectiveness of a redesigned system.

The memo, issued late last week, recommends allowing the current contract with American Traffic Solutions to expire in January.

Contact reporter Joe Ferguson at jferguson@azstarnet.com or 573-4346. Follow him on Twitter @JoeFerguson.


Reporter with the Arizona Daily Star. I cover politics as well as the city of Tucson and other municipalities in Southern Arizona.