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Automated speed enforcement study provides guidance for Minnesota

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The discussion and debate about automated speed enforcement in many states—including Minnesota—is both complex and puzzling. On one hand, studies have shown that automated speed enforcement (ASE) increases roadway safety when deployed in certain settings, and public opinion polls show Minnesotans overwhelmingly support ASE in certain locations.

On the other hand, only 14 states and Washington, D.C., employ ASE; Minnesota is one of the 36 states that do not use automated speed enforcement. The perceived lack of public support is often cited as the primary reason ASE isn’t used in more states.

Prompted by the gap in Minnesota between state policy and the safety benefits and strong support for ASE, researchers at the Humphrey School of Public Affairs designed a study to investigate scenarios for an ASE pilot program in work and school zones in Minnesota.

First, the research team documented the legal and political environment surrounding ASE in Minnesota and analyzed available data for speed-related crashes in Minnesota school and work zones. Next, the researchers investigated and cataloged the possible solutions to a number of considerations and questions involved in developing an ASE pilot project.

Finally, researchers set out to develop a “blueprint” of preferred scenarios for ASE in Minnesota—and came face-to-face with several obstacles, such as making decisions about design elements while weighing difficult political and policy issues surrounding public acceptance, operational challenges and cost issues, and effectiveness.

Despite these obstacles, policy experts say an ASE program in Minnesota is possible if government stakeholders and policymakers agree that ASE is a worthwhile investment.

Read the full article in the April issue of Catalyst.

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