The National Academies

BTSCRP BTS-42 [Anticipated]

The Future of Automated Traffic Enforcement and Public Acceptance

  Project Data
Funds: $350,000
Staff Responsibility: Richard A. Retting
Comments: In development
Fiscal Year: 2025

This project has been tentatively selected and a project statement (request for proposals) is expected to be available on this website. The problem statement below will be the starting point for a panel of experts to develop the project statement.


Automated enforcement is widely used as a supplement to the traditional use of law enforcement officers. The use of photo enforcement technology has increased in recent years following societal questioning of the use of law enforcement officers for traffic enforcement, as well as increasing officer vacancy rates in many law enforcement agencies. It would be useful to conduct a detailed and comprehensive assessment of the efficacy and efficiency of automated traffic enforcement to assist future public policy development, with consideration of (but not limited to) the following research questions:

  • How effective is automated enforcement technology in the United States, and how is it accepted by the public?
  • Can an automated enforcement program be implemented and generate public acceptance and compliance with traffic safety laws?
  • Can tolling systems be used to detect and deter speeding violations?
  • What approach is best suited to address the public perception that automated traffic enforcement is used primarily to generate revenue?


The objectives of this is research are to 1) conduct a comprehensive assessment of automated traffic law enforcement to assist in the public policy discussion of the future of traffic enforcement across the nation and 2) develop a toolkit for state highway safety offices and other stakeholders to support implementation of automated enforcement in a manner that  minimizes public and political opposition. It is important to research and understand the applicability of automated traffic enforcement beyond the school and work zones. 

To create a link to this page, use this URL: http://apps.trb.org/cmsfeed/TRBNetProjectDisplay.asp?ProjectID=5739