Independent Review: The City of Buffalo School Zone Safety Program & An Analysis of Citation Data from the City of Buffalo Speed Camera Program


70 percent of speed cameras are in high-poverty census tracts, and 65 percent are in census tracts where minority residents outnumber white residents.

The City of Buffalo installed 20 speed cameras as part of their School Zone Safety Program to reduce School Zone vehicle crashes. This analysis attempts to determine whether the City took reasonable and responsible steps to achieve its stated purpose. The author concludes that the City’s priority was not to reduce crashes but to maximize citation production and that its program represents a social injustice and a discriminatory enforcement initiative.

You can read the full text here.

Key Findings:

  • Half of the speed camera sites have Buffalo’s lowest School Zone crash rates.
  • The city placed more emphasis on traffic volume than vehicle crashes when selecting sites; nearly all the speed camera sites have the lowest School Zone traffic rates in Buffalo. 
  • Speed cameras were placed disproportionately in high-poverty and minority neighborhoods.
  • 13 of the 20 speed camera sites had a median household income below the City’s median household income.
  • People living near Buffalo’s speed cameras receive the most violations; 71.2 percent of speed camera violations were issued to vehicle owners in high-poverty zip-codes.
  • The City failed to post 15-mph speed limit signs a quarter mile from school zones, violating City and State laws and federal regulations.
  • Annually, speeding accounted for only 4.2 pedestrian crashes during weekdays, whereas distracted driving accounted for 29.2 and 17 for failure to yield right-of-way. 


  • Terminate the speed camera program.
  • Invest in Just Streets improvements with funds generated through the School Zone Safety Program.
  • Implement non-punitive traffic calming measures.
  • Incorporate school speed limit recommendations from Cornell University’s Local Roads Program into the City Code.
Peter C. Rizzo
The City of Buffalo Common Council