Legitimacy of Automated Enforcement: A public perception study for The RAC Foundation

The RAC Foundation commissioned Ipsos MORI to explore what makes the application of camera-based enforcement technology acceptable to the public.

The author(s)

  • Ajit Chauhan Ipsos Public Affairs, UK
  • Lewis Hill Public Affairs
  • Ilya Cereso Ipsos Public Affairs, UK
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According to the research conducted by Ipsos MORI on behalf of the RAC Foundation, two thirds (66%) of the public feel that monitoring cameras are more a force for good in society than for bad, however, when looking towards monitoring behaviour on the roads there is a degree of scepticism amongst the public with over three in five (62%) who feel that some cameras are used primarily to raise money rather than improve traffic flow. Just under half (47%) say they trust the government and relevant authorities to use monitoring and enforcement techniques in the right way.

Despite concerns about the effectiveness of monitoring and cameras, 70% of the public support automated road traffic enforcement (ARTE) (be it through the use of fixed speed cameras, average speed cameras, mobile speed cameras, bus lane cameras, red light cameras or box junction cameras) if it leads to a reduction in the number of accidents and casualties on the roads. Almost as many (66%) support the use of automated enforcement if it frees up more time for the police to deal with other offences.

Although there are positive perceptions of ARTE, there is a degree of cynicism amongst the public as more than eight in ten (83%) agree that speed cameras only cause drivers to slow down for them before speeding up again afterwards, whilst half (50%) believe that ARTE does not effectively discourage drivers from offending.

Greater confidence amongst the public could be achieved by way of more regulation, including stricter usage guidelines, according to 59% of people. Transparency could also be a method to instil greater confidence in the public with regularly publicising data about the number of penalties issued at a local area level (56% agree) or if the government or the relevant body would be required to publish an annual review of ARTE technology (54% agree).

Technical note

Ipsos MORI conducted a representative online survey of 2,203 members of the public aged 16 to 75 in Great Britain, between 16 to 20 March 2018. Results were weighted to the known population profile across Great Britain.

The author(s)

  • Ajit Chauhan Ipsos Public Affairs, UK
  • Lewis Hill Public Affairs
  • Ilya Cereso Ipsos Public Affairs, UK

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