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Portland Bureau of Transportation

Phone: 503-823-5185

Fax: 503-823-7576

1120 SW Fifth Ave, Suite 800, Portland, OR 97204

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Why Speed Safety Cameras?

The need for fixed speed Safety Cameras in Portland

death due to speed

The economic and societal costs of these crashes are immense. The CDC estimates the costs of lost work and medical expenses due to traffic fatalities in Oregon to be $422 million a year.[1] The National Safety Council pegs the cost of traffic fatalities and injuries to be $150 million a year in the City of Portland alone.[2] The City of Portland is joining cities across the country in embracing Vision Zero – the notion that the death of even one person on our roads is one to many. Vision Zero proposes that traffic fatalities are not inevitable, and can be prevented through smart policy and system design. Such new thinking is needed, as the number of people killed on Portland roadways has remained stubbornly flat for the past 20 years. In 2015, 37 people died in traffic crashes in Portland, more than the number of homicides in the city.

Controlling speed on Portland’s urban High Crash Corridors

The City of Portland designates the worst of these arterial roadways High Crash Corridors. These ten High Crash Corridors, just 3% of Portland’s road network, account for over 51% of city’s pedestrian fatalities.The majority of serious crashes in the Portland area occur on arterial roadways. Portland’s high-volume, multi-lane arterials suffer serious crash rate 4.3x higher than that of the region’s freeway system.[3]

Portland’s High Crash Corridors often cut through neighborhoods where residents have few transportation options. The poorest Portlanders with the fewest transportation resources often have to cross our busiest, fastest roadways to get to school or access transit. As Governing Magazine recently noted, your chances of being struck and killed as a pedestrian are 2.3x higher if you live in a high poverty area of Multnomah County.[4]

Speeding and aggressive driving are the top contributing factors to serious crashes across the region. Over 100 jurisdictions across the country used automated speed enforcement to combat these dangerous driving behaviors.  

What other communities are doing to address these challenges

  City Fatalities per 100,000 people
Seattle 2.5
Boston 2.6
New York 3.0
San Francisco 3.4
Washington D.C. 3.9
Chicago 4.3
Portland 4.5
2014 data sources: Seattle DOT, NYC Vision Zero, Vision Zero Coalition, Portland Police Bureau, Illinois DOT, L.A. DOT, Texas DOT, Florida Highway Safety and Motor Vehicles, NHTSA

Many cities with safer road systems (notably Seattle, Chicago, Washington D.C. and New York) are successfully utilizing fixed speed safety cameras. The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration finds that photo radar systems reduce crashes in the range of 20-25 percent.[5]