Them’s the Brakes: Out ‘Smarting’ Traffic Safety Efforts in Edmonton

Smart Cities in Canada: Digital Designs, Corporate Dreams (Toronto: Lorimer, 2020)

12 Pages Posted: 9 Apr 2021

See all articles by Jennifer Raso

Jennifer Raso

McGill University, Faculty of Law

Date Written: October 1, 2020

Abstract

This chapter explores the concept of smart cities through the case study of technology-assisted speed limit enforcement in Edmonton, Alberta. While little known to outsiders, Edmonton is a leading "smart city" within Canada.

This chapter examines how Edmonton’s smart city initiatives play out in practice when it comes to traffic safety; specifically, speed limit enforcement. To regulate the speed at which vehicles travel, Edmonton uses a mix of open data, Vision Zero goal-setting, sensory technologies, and old-fashioned traffic tickets. Considering these initiatives in their local context reveals a familiar and uniquely Edmontonian interplay between those who do the “sensing” (the regulators) and those whose behavior is being sensed (drivers). Drivers do not quietly accept the roles given to them by the city’s smart system for ticketing them, but engage in what might be called counter-smart city resistance, even developing an app to foil the city’s speed limit enforcement system.

Keywords: smart cities, socio-legal studies, regulatory compliance, traffic safety, local government

Suggested Citation

Raso, Jennifer, Them’s the Brakes: Out ‘Smarting’ Traffic Safety Efforts in Edmonton (October 1, 2020). Smart Cities in Canada: Digital Designs, Corporate Dreams (Toronto: Lorimer, 2020), Available at SSRN: https://ssrn.com/abstract=3822669

Jennifer Raso (Contact Author)

McGill University, Faculty of Law ( email )

3644 Peel Street
Room 506
Montreal, Quebec H3A 1W9
Canada

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