Speed Cameras Issue 1.25 Million Warnings, Cut Speeding 43%

Speed camera near Gompers Park
The first speed camera, at Gompers Park, was turned on nearly a year ago.

The City of Chicago’s automated speed enforcement system continues to succeed in reducing dangerous speeding around parks and schools. The Chicago Department of Transportation issued a press release earlier this month, stating that the number of speeding cars observed by its 51 speed cameras has fallen an average of 43 percent ever since the first week of the cameras’ operation. At some locations, the number of speeders dropped as much as 99 percent.

These stats continue the pattern established early on — just three weeks after a handful of speed cameras started issuing tickets, the number of cars seen speeding had already dropped 65 percent.

The 11-month-old speed camera program started almost a year ago with one installation at Gompers Park, and since then the program has issued “more than 1.25 million warnings to motorists.” Written warnings are issued within a camera’s first 30 days of operation, as well as on the first instance that a motorist is caught speeding, in any zone. Tickets are only issued when drivers exceed the speed limit by 10 mph or more.

The release also said motorists received 230,000 citations. That five warnings are issued for every citation might indicate that many motorists receive warnings, and don’t speed through safety zones again.

Later this year, the Illinois Department of Transportation will release crash and injury data covering the first three months of speed camera operations. That will help to gauge the speed cameras’ effectiveness in improving safety, for those both inside and outside cars.

CDOT will be installing cameras at 12 new sites “in the coming months,” distributed citywide across six geographic zones. Speed cameras will be installed at:

  • Taft High School, 6545 W. Hurlbut St.
  • Ashmore Playlot Park, 4807 W. Gunnison St.
  • Beverly Park, 2460 W. 102nd St.
  • Chicago Vocational High School, 2100 E. 87th St.
  • Loop Lab School, 318 W. Adams St.
  • Wicker Park 1425 N. Damen Ave.
  • Keystone Park, 1655 N. Keystone Ave.
  • Frazier International Magnet School, 4027 W. Grenshaw St.
  • St. Gall Elementary School, 5515 S. Sawyer Ave.
  • Foster Park, 1400 W. 84th St.
  • Dulles Elementary School, 6311 S. Calumet Ave.
  • Mulberry Park, 3150 S. Robinson Ct.
  • hello

    This is great news!

  • Brian

    You should also point out that cameras ticket parked cars.
    And you should also take time to read the read the great work the Tribune has done (a real newspaper) about the problems with red light cameras. Don’t think for one minute that there won’t be problems exposed with speed cameras in the near future.
    And hopefully those problems will make alderman wake up and realize what a scam photo enforcement is. And what con artists Gabe Klein and Scott Kubly are!

  • What’s quite different about the speed camera and red light programs, as seen in the nearly one year that speed cameras have been issuing citations, is that the numbers go down instead of stay flat or possibly go up.

    The speed camera data is fully open to the public – you just have to ask for it. This should make it simple to track citation issuance problems.

    For example, the speed camera nearest Senn High School issued, on average, 7.2 warnings per 1,000 cars per day in the 30-day warning period.

    But during the first 30 days of the actual citation period, following a two-week blackout period, the rate fell to an average of 1.9 citations per 1,000 cars per day (even as the number of cars per day increased).

  • Andrew H

    Nice of you to jump on here and just trash the site and author of the article for no reason Brian– really a classy response. Streetsblog is merely stating facts (the data is publicly available). This is an sustainable transportation website, they are very clear about that. Just because the Tribune has a paper distribution doesn’t mean they don’t sometimes publish one sided stories. And I think calling Gabe or Scott con artists is totally uncalled for. If people break the law and they get caught, who cares if it was a camera that caught them or a cop in a car. If the number of people speeding reduces and safety for pedestrians increases (the real goal), then I’m all for it and anyone that isn’t has their priorities backwards.

  • Fred

    Brian has a biased agenda just like Streetsblog does. His agenda is to rid the city of speed cameras. He’s not a regular contributor, he just chimes in whenever there is an article pertaining to his agenda. Keep this in mind when you read his posts.

  • Mishellie

    His agenda is to enable speeding whenever and wherever possible, keeping citizens in danger. Is more like it.

  • Fed Up Taxpayer

    Dont fall for the con…..this is just a moneymaker for the city,

  • basia.b.

    Right?! I was against them from the beginning. I haven’t gotten warned nor ticketed but it’s bull. In no way are these cameras ‘keeping our kids safe’.

  • Dastardly Don

    Numbers don’t lie but liars sure do misuse numbers. And the way they often do it is by mixing statistics and calling it a conclusion as they do here. Let’s be clear. The reason CDOT issued 1.25 million warning tickets is because the ordinance mandates that unsuspecting motorists get a warning before they are fined for driving the way they were driving before CDOT ambushed them by establishing a “Safety Zone” in areas where traffic flows.

    Yes, issuance of tickets has gone down by 99% in some locations because the people learned where they are and avoid them but notice even the city doesn’t claim they have increased safety in these “Safety Zones”. They don’t even tell us how they picked the zones other than the ordinance allows them with in 1/8 of a mile of any park or school.

    The press release says “Later this year, the Illinois Department of Transportation will release crash and injury data covering the first three months of speed camera operations. That will help to gauge the speed cameras’ effectiveness in improving safety, for those both inside and outside cars.” Let’s demand the same information go to the Inspector General and if it is determined that there was no need for that location because there was no PEDESTRIAN SAFETY ISSUE at that location the cameras should be removed as 36 Red Light Cameras were removed this year.

    CDOT forecast $15 million in 2013 and ended up with $300,000 and $70 million for 2014 and is at $8 million through June. Keep up the good work Chicago drivers. 39% of Speed Camera tickets went to unaware non Chicago drivers.

    Want to hear the truth about Scameras, got to http://www.banthecameras.com

  • BlueFairlane

    So people slow down and the city gets money? Awesome.

  • BlueFairlane

    Yes, issuance of tickets has gone down by 99% in some locations because the people learned where they are and avoid them …

    In other words, they work.

  • Dastardly Don

    They work at what? They were supposed to increase pedestrian safety not teach people to avoid cameras. When you put a “Safety Zone” in the middle of a block where there is no cross walk or pedestrian traffic how are you protecting kids?

  • BlueFairlane

    This is simple. If unsafe drivers are avoiding an area, that area becomes safer. Hence, a safety zone.

  • Dastardly Don

    Safer than what? It wasn’t unsafe before and you can’t believe forcing cars off of arterial streets onto side streets is better.

  • BlueFairlane

    You say yourself speeding violations dropped 99% in these areas. Speeding is unsafe. Therefore, these areas are by definition more safe.

    You’ve laid out a pretty good argument to support these cameras, though you haven’t figured that out just yet.

  • Dastardly Don

    You made a real leap that “speeding” is “unsafe”. First i question if 26 mph is speeding and as CDOT notes they don’t know if it was unsafe before or is safer now because they didn’t do the study and still don’t have data. I didn’t say “speeding” decreased I said “ticketing” decreased. They are not the same thing.

  • Corn Dog Aficionado

    Your opinions on what constitutes speeding don’t matter. There are rules of the road and driving is a privilege.

    If you can’t follow them, accept the punishment in the form of a ticket, or stop driving.

  • BlueFairlane

    My leap between “speeding” and “unsafe” is pretty well-documented, and Corn Dog addresses your view on that subject pretty well below.

    As for the difference between a decrease in speeding and ticketing, unless you think that for some reason people are speeding through these zones and the camera isn’t catching them, I’d say the correlation between the two factors is strong. And if the camera isn’t catching people who are speeding, I’d think you’d be happy.

  • Dastardly Don

    As CDOT noted in the press release they will release data later this year because they had no data when they put up speed traps in areas they defined as “Safety Zones”. As the Inspector Generals review of Red Light Cameras if it shows there is no pedestrian problem at these locations they should be removed. Remember Speed Cameras were sold to protect pedestrians.

  • Dastardly Don

    Maybe I should ride a bike so I don’t have to obey the rules of the road and can run red lights and disrupt traffic.

  • Corn Dog Aficionado

    That has nothing to do with speed cameras FYI, so I assume you’ve accepted that you’re wrong.

  • Electroguy1

    The cameras have done so well at issuing tickets for yellow light right turns I cant possibly see any problems! In fact, Im sure they are totally without corruption and have reduced accidents from less than 1 a year to… well… basically the same amount.. at a cost of millions. Of course, driving traffic into areas not familiar to heavier traffic certainly will not impact those areas at all. Maybe we should put cameras everywhere. Because heaven knows this is for the children… not the money… right?

  • Passport 9500IX alerts to all speed cameras as do many free apps. Use them. Let’s not beat around the bush – the cameras are about one thing – revenue. Any other argument is drinking the Kool Aid from the camera company and city hall.

  • BlueFairlane

    You’re talking in circles, man. You said yourself, speeding has been reduced at these locations. Reducing speeding protects pedestrians, so the cameras have accomplished their marketed purpose.

  • BlueFairlane

    Yes! Use the apps so you know to slow down in the locations where the city thinks you should slow down! That’ll show ’em!

  • Dastardly Don

    Let me try again. There is no evidence that reducing speed at the locations CDOT has designated “Safety Zones” is protecting pedestrians because in many cases the Zones are in locations that have no pedestrians. One of the best examples is the Zombie Cameras in Lincoln park between the cemeteries. I realize those dead bodies probably vote in Chicago but they don’t need to be protected by Speed Cameras.

  • BlueFairlane

    This just keeps getting sillier and sillier. So your argument now is that there somehow are corners in this city of 3 million people that have no pedestrians. I, for one, would love to find one of those spots, though I can’t say I’ve ever seen it outside an expressway. Even the areas between the cemeteries you mention have people walking there. I’ve walked there, for that matter. And if some miraculously empty spot did exist, it would surely be because there were too many speeding cars that made walking there unsafe.

    I think I’m going to call this one a day. If you come up with an actual reason-based argument, I might shoot it down tomorrow.

  • Dastardly Don

    I would love for you to find one Speed Camera at a corner in the city of Chicago. There are none, not one. Speed Cameras are in the middle of the blocks where there are no cross walks or pedestrians and if you are actually walking between the cemeteries where the Speed Cameras are you should stop it and follow the rules of the road and cross at the cross walks.

    Why don’t you not bother to come back until you have some knowledge of the topic but then I guess you won’t ever be back.

  • The city is issuing fewer tickets than it is legally allowed to issue. It currently only issues tickets for those vehicles seen going 10 MPH or faster over the speed limit. The city has the authority to ticket vehicles seen going 6 MPH or faster over the speed limit.

    Therefore I believe these numbers the city presents are conservative and represent a value less than the actual frequency of people speeding.

    When the city starts issuing tickets for the vehicles seen going 6-9 MPH over the speed limit we will see an even steeper drop in the incidence of speeding (which may not be coupled with a similar drop in ticketing, depending on how people react to the new rule) as well as a reduction in speeding-related crashes and injuries on these streets.

  • Which do you want your kids around more: people driving past their school crosswalks at 30 MPH, or the speed limit of 20 MPH (at schools, when children are present)?

  • Dastardly Don

    I was with you until you made your conclusion about safety.

    I agree with you that if they city started sending out fines at 26 mph the number of fines would likely go up, at least initially, much like they did on the Red Light Cameras when they changed the length of the yellow light time.

    What I can’t agree with is that these “Safety Zones” have anything to do with children pedestrian safety as it was sold. Yes they are within 1/8 mile of a park or school but they are not where kids walk, they are where car traffic flows usually with no traffic signals or crosswalks or kids walking. I hope no kid ever thinks it’s safe to just to walk out into the middle of a block because he sees safety zone painted on the street.

    I look forward to the release of accident data and my guess is what we are going to learn is not only has their not been an appreciable decrease in child pedestrian accidents at the Safety Zones but that there was not a child pedestrian problem at those locations nor need for them in the first place.

  • Apparently you are unfamiliar with the knee in fatalities between 20 and 30 MPH when pedestrians are impacted by motor vehicles, with 5% fatalities in wrecks of 20 MPH and below, while at 30 MPH the fatality rate is 50%. So slower is way less fatal.

  • Dastardly Don

    If there are pedestrian accidents there are more injuries at higher speeds but there were / are virtually no pedestrian accidents in CDOT’s Safety Zones. Zones picked to bring in revenue not for pedestrian safety. Can you really be less fatal :-)

  • hello

    Either way, the speed cameras are catching “egregious” law-breakers (egregious, because they are going more than 10 mph over the speed limit), and they aren’t having to pay police to do it.

    We should all be singing the praises of technology and the efficiency it has brought to our traffic enforcement!

    Unless, of course, you take pleasure in breaking the law and getting away with it – in which case you should apply this logic of no enforcement to some other crimes in the city and see if you’re still in favor of no enforcement of those crimes/violations.

  • Dastardly Don

    Egregious, really? Should we bring back the death penalty? It’s time to take down these Toll Booths in our communities.

  • Vitaliy Shtym

    ok, they cut down people going over 30, but how are the accident rates looking now? lemme guess, its the same. Its all just another tax


  • Vitaliy Shtym

    many of these areas its safe to drive 40

  • Studies show that pedestrians struck at 40 almost always die, while those struck at 30 have about a 50/50 chance of survival and those struck at 20 almost always live. That’s why it’s important to enforce Chicago’s current default 30 mph speed limit, and why lower city speed limits would make sense. NYC recently lowered theirs to 25.

  • Vitaliy Shtym

    its simple, stay on the sidewalk

  • tomasiepants

    What a government loving traitor… disgusting.

  • tomasiepants

    Down 43%… yeah right. Traffic cameras like this presume guilt and do not provide motorists with the opportunity of a fair hearing because a machine is unable to make a determination on why a traffic law was potentially violated. A police officer who has witnessed a traffic violation can, but a camera cannot.

  • Thanks for slowing down!

  • Don’t conflate the effects of speed cameras with the effects of red light cameras. Motorists are exhibiting different behaviors and maneuvers and technologically the cameras work a bit differently.

  • Andre


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