Replace NY’s Patchwork of “Demonstration Programs” for Automated Enforcement

4 min readMay 13, 2022


Automated enforcement of Speed Limits, Red Lights and Bus Lane restrictions has been proven effective time and time again. It is time to consolidate the patchwork of twelve temporary “demonstration programs” in NY State Vehicle and Traffic Law (VTL) with a single permanent statewide authorization of automated enforcement.

Where demonstration programs were tepid and full of restrictions, permanent authorization should take bold steps to ensure consistency throughout the state of New York. Data shows that automated enforcement reduces the opportunities for conflict with police, reduces the discretionary corruption prevalent with selective enforcement, creates safer streets by reducing speeding, and improves the quality of public transportation by keeping bus lanes clear.

In a required 2018 report on the effects of speed cameras, first authorized in 2014, NYC DOT confirmed that speeding dropped 63% during hours where speed cameras were active. Automated enforcement is also a key part of the Dangerous Vehicle Abatement Program in NYC enacted in Feb 2020 designed to get dangerous drivers off the road through a required class for drivers with 15 or more automated speed tickets on their vehicle. In March 2020 when fewer drivers were on the road, the number of automated speed tickets nearly doubled accurately and efficiently addressing an alarming increase in high speeds on empty streets.

Speed Cameras

There are currently three Speed Camera demonstration programs.

  • 1180-B authorizes New York City to have speed cameras in 750 school speed zones between 6am-10pm. Authorization expires July 2022
  • 1180-D authorizes Buffalo to have speed cameras in 20 school speed zones during school hours. Authorization expires September 2024
  • 1180-E authorizes highway speed cameras. Authorization expires October 2026.

What should change w/ permanent authorization?

  1. Authorize statewide (Allowing cameras to be run by State or City DOTs)
  2. End restrictions on hours (we need to stop speeding at all hours, especially at night when risk to pedestrians is highest)
  3. End restriction on locations (Stop restricting to “school zones” as if children have room and board at the schools, and stop restricting highway enforcement to “work zones”)
  4. Replace maximum limits with required minimum coverage for each county proportional to the number of registered vehicles. Minimum coverage could be 1 speed camera per 2,000 registered vehicles, or a metric based on lane-miles of roadway.
  5. Change speed limit thresholds (Stop beginning enforcement in 25mph zones at 40% over the limit. Enforce a 25mph speed limit at 30mph. Enforce a 30mph speed limit at 35mph.)
  6. Create an escalating fine structure (Increase the fines starting with the 3rd offense in 12 months, and double the fines on top of that for going 20+mph over the limit)

Red Light Cameras

There are nine Red Light Camera demonstration programs, expiring in December 2024 or 2026

  • 1111-A authorizes New York City to have 150 red light cameras
  • 1111-B authorizes Nassau County to have 100 red light cameras
  • 1111-B*2 authorizes Yonkers to have 25 red light cameras
  • 1111-B*3 authorizes Suffolk County to have 100 red light cameras
  • 1111-D authorizes New Rochelle to have 12 red light cameras
  • 1111-D*2 authorizes Mt. Vernon to have 12 red light cameras
  • 1111-D*3 authorizes Albany to have 20 red light cameras
  • 1111-E authorizes White Plains to have 12 red light cameras
  • 1111-F authorizes Pelham Manor to have 1 red light camera

What should change w/ permanent authorization?

  1. Authorize statewide
  2. Replace maximum limits with required minimum coverage for each county proportional to the number of signalized intersections. A good minimum would require at least 5% of signalized intersections to have a red light camera. This can easily be phased in by raising the minimum requirement each year.

Bus Lane Enforcement

There is currently only one demonstration program for bus lane enforcement.

  • 1111-C authorizes New York City to have fixed or mobile bus lane enforcement. Mobile enforcement is limited to 50 cameras on routes in Manhattan below 96th st.

What should change w/ permanent authorization?

  1. Authorize statewide. Bus lane restrictions state wide should benefit from automated enforcement.
  2. Remove cap on mobile enforcement (Allow camera mounted enforcement on every bus)
  3. Require minimum fixed enforcement of at least 1 camera per mile of exclusive bus lane where mobile enforcement is not used.

Block the Box / Pedestrian Right of Way Enforcement

There is currently no authorization of automated enforcement to ensure crosswalks are unobstructed. In NYC this is regulated by 4–07(b)(2) which is also known legally as “spillback” but also commonly as the “block the box” rule. Statewide this is regulated by VTL 1111(d)1.

What should be included w/ permanent authorization?

  1. Authorize automated enforcement statewide with owner liability.
  2. Required camera counts for each city or county proportional to the number of marked crosswalks

These demonstration programs have been the result of the hard work of countless people and organizations. I am especially thankful for Families for Safe Streets for their tireless advocacy in support of safer streets.




Ever stop and wonder what would make streets safe to walk on? I ❤️ Data & 🚲.