Greater Victoria has two red-light cameras monitoring traffic and both draw heavily on vehicles moving through Saanich.
Residents may one day see more of the devices installed as Saanich attempts to make its streets safer for drivers, pedestrians and other road users.
Last Wednesday, Mayor Fred Haynes asked Capital Regional District (CRD) traffic safety commission to do more research on the effectiveness of intersection cameras and report back to the CRD.
The existing cameras, activated by red lights, are in use at the intersections of Trans-Canada Highway and Tillicum Road in Saanich, and Hillside Avenue and Shelbourne Street in Victoria, a block from the Saanich border.
The cameras and the signage indicating their presence “gives a clear indication to drivers that if they run a red light, whether they’re seen by police or not, they will be identified,” Haynes said. “It’s an effective way to bring about behaviour change.”
Haynes’ request to the commission was approved at a meeting of the CRD’s planning, transportation and protective services committee. The vote followed a presentation on regional statistics on casualty crashes – those where injury or death occurs – by commission vice-chair Dr. Murray Fyfe. His presentation coincided with National Day of Remembrance for Road Crash Victims.
Fyfe said fatal crashes are “the tip of the iceberg” and that intersections tend to be a more likely place for casualty crashes to occur. Roughly 60 per cent of all crashes happen in intersections, he added, and those on major corridors carry an even greater risk.
Fyfe listed 15 intersections where injuries or death have most frequently occurred in the past several years. Six of the top seven are in Saanich, including the intersection of Trans-Canada Highway, McKenzie Avenue and Admirals Road – now drastically changed with the interchange – No. 1 with a cumulative 136 casualty crashes.
The TCH and Tillicum Road intersection sat at No. 15 with 59 casualty crashes, but there was no indication whether the volume of incidents has decreased since the camera was installed.
Haynes said later that finding more information on the use of intersection cameras ties in with the district’s pursuit of a pilot project with other CRD municipalities to reduce speed limits on municipal roads from 50 km/h down to 40.
“We need to do these in parallel,” he said. “We understand speed is not the only issue, it’s distracted driving, the repair and maintenance of the vehicle and the environment drivers are driving in … but decision making is affected by speed and the awareness and ability of the driver.”