Identifying and Reconciling Stakeholder Perspectives in Deploying Automated Speed Enforcement

Principal Investigator(s):

Frank Douma, Director, State & Local Policy, Humphrey School of Public Affairs


Project summary:

Independent academic studies have shown that deploying automated speed enforcement (ASE) results in a reduction in average speed and most types of crashes and also reduces related personal injuries and casualties. Despite this, deployment of ASE remains a highly contentious issue as demonstrated by legislative language in some states and at the federal level restricting deployment.

To better understand the causes for the continued conflict regarding ASE deployment, this research examined the perceptions of affected stakeholders in Minnesota. Minnesota was selected as a case study for Region 5 as automated enforcement received significant attention in its 2007 State Highway Safety Plan, but progress stopped after a court decision voided deployment of red-light cameras in Minneapolis. Rather than directly interviewing drivers, this effort sought to determine the points of view of key stakeholders who influence driver opinion. The researchers performed a review of public statements, direct interviews, and peer interviews with stakeholders, then developed responses that addressed the objections raised. A subsequent survey introduced drivers to these responses to gauge whether changes in position on ASE occurred.

Statistically significant movement on ASE opinion was achieved after respondents took the survey that addressed their ASE concerns. Almost half who began with a neutral or negative opinion of ASE moved toward a more favorable opinion of it. Those who changed their opinion were more engaged and were persuaded by the evidence demonstrating the safety benefits of reduced speeds and use of ASE. Comparing those whose opinion did not move (neutral) who ended with a more positive opinion of ASE, there was no statistically significant difference in terms of age, education, or average miles driven; however, they were more likely to be female. Further analysis of the responses indicated that while limited deployment for strictly safety reasons remain the most influential reasons for support, skepticism of speed as a safety issue constitutes a substantial obstacle, even when statistics and other facts about speed related deaths were presented.

From a statewide perspective, the researchers found no trend in work-zone-related fatalities due to ASE implementation.

Selected related research

Project details: