Vision Zero Tools and Guidelines

Action item B6 of Arlington’s Vision Zero Action Plan outlines the County’s approach to designing streets and trails to be safe for all users. Pursuant to this, the County will update existing design standards and guidelines and create new ones to reflect the fact that safety is our top priority. These guidelines will be kept up-to-date to reflect the latest safety research, standards and best practices from across the country, and to include lessons learned from systemic crash analysis.

The County recognizes the importance of responding swiftly to safety issues, so these guidelines are intended to be flexible and allow staff to exercise some discretion in determining the most effective solutions for each individual situation.

Guidelines in Development

Currently the County is working to develop guidelines for the implementation of Speed Cameras and speed limit changes within School Zones, as well as the first edition of the Multimodal Engineering Safety Toolbox, a communications and engagement tool that explains how DES Transportation staff approach safety issues with common tools and treatments.

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Speed Cameras

Our Vision Zero Action Plan identifies automated speed enforcement, also known as speed cameras, as a tool to lower speeds and enhance equity in enforcement. Further, Arlington’s Police Practices Work Group also recommends speed cameras because they reduce biases in enforcement.  

In 2020, Virginia passed legislation allowing state and local police to use speed cameras in school and work zones. Staff across County transportation, police, schools, and members of the Police Practices Group collaborated to develop a proposal to bring speed cameras to Arlington’s school and work zones that meets the state requirements. The County Board will adopted the proposed changes to County Code in January 2022.  

Click the links below to learn more about speed cameras, how they are an effective tool to reduce speeds and severe crashes in Arlington, and how we plan to implement speed cameras in Arlington. 

Frequently Asked Questions

Are speed cameras allowed in Arlington?

As of 2020, a new Virginia law allows municipalities to install speed cameras in school crossing and work zones. The County Board approves similar changes to the County Code to permit speed cameras in Arlington in January 2022.

How do speed cameras determine who is speeding?

Speed cameras use radar to monitor and ticket vehicles driving over the speed limit. Police officers review the footage to confirm speeding violations. Speeding tickets (civil citations) are issued by mail.  Per state law, a driver must be travelling at least 10mph over the speed limit to receive a citation.

What is the fine for a camera-documented speeding ticket? Can I lose my license?

Civil citations of $50 will be issued to the vehicle’s registered owner. No points will be issued to the owner’s license. Speed camera tickets do not have an impact on insurance rates.

I wasn’t driving when my vehicle was documented exceeding the speed limit. Why did I get a ticket?

The police will issue the ticket to the owner of the vehicle. Vehicle owners may request a hearing in Arlington County’s General District Traffic Court to contest the fine.

Is Arlington County going to use speed cameras?

Staff from Department of Environmental Services (DES) and Arlington County Police Department (ACPD) are developing a program to use speed cameras to reduce speeds and speed-related crashes in school and work zones, as permitted by state law.

Why is the County installing speed cameras?

The focus of this program is to reduce speeds and save lives in our community.

The risk of injury and death increases as vehicle speed increases, and we know that at least one in four crashes in Arlington involves speeding. The goal is to reduce the chance of fatal or serious crashes by encouraging drivers to follow the speed limit.

Arlington’s Vision Zero Transportation Safety Action Plan identifies speed cameras as a tool to deter speeding. Arlington’s Police Practices Work Group also recommends speed cameras because they reduce the potential for bias in traffic enforcement.

Why are speed cameras important for safety?

We must slow down to save lives. The CDC estimates that speed cameras can reduce crashes by up to 50%. Plus, studies in Montgomery County, MD, and DC, found that the share of drivers speeding by at least 10mph dropped 70% and 82%, respectively, 6-8 months after speed camera installation. In Rockville, MD, speed cameras reduced crashes by 35% and speeding by 50%.

When will speed cameras be installed on County streets?

We expect to begin implementing an automated speed enforcement program in late 2022 or early 2023.

ACPD staff will initiate a procurement process to select a vendor, while DES Transportation staff will develop data-informed guidelines for placement of speed cameras in school and work zones to maximize their safety impacts.

How will the County select locations for speed cameras?

County staff will develop data-driven guidelines for selecting locations in school zones and work zones:

Selection criteria will include (but are not limited to) crash history, speed data, roadway features, and environmental factors.

How much money will be generated by the speed cameras? Where will the fines go?

Speed camera fines are intended to encourage people to drive the speed limit. Fines do not generate revenue for police or transportation programs. Rather, fines issued will be distributed to the County’s General Fund. Therefore, there is no incentive to use speed cameras to fund department budgets.

How much would the speed camera program cost the County?

We estimate that a program to implement ten speed cameras will cost about $630,000 per year.

Why are speed cameras an equity issue?

Speed cameras have the potential to improve safety and reduce unnecessary interactions between residents and police. Speed cameras may also reduce or eliminate the possibility of race- and ethnicity-based disparities in traffic enforcement.

What community engagement has been incorporated into this program? What engagement is planned?

While developing the Vision Zero Action Plan, the County hosted three public engagement checkpoints that reached over 1,000 community members. The community supported speed management and automated enforcement.

The Police Practices Work Group likewise conducted public engagement through online forms and meetings. Community input was ultimately incorporated into the Group’s set of recommendations to the County Board. These two County initiatives included extensive community engagement and demonstrate support for using speed cameras to make our community safer.

We are planning additional outreach and education to inform the community about speed cameras in advance of their implementation.


School Zone Guidelines & Speed Limits: 

Staff are working on school zone guidelines, which include specifications for setting speed limits in school zones. Per the Vision Zero Action Plan, staff are recommending permanent 20mph speed limits on neighborhood streets within 60 feet of a school access point. Staff plan to test out the new reduced speed limit policy and engineering plans in a few school zones before adding them at all school zones countywide.  

The Vision Zero Team presented to the County Board in November to request an adjustment to Chapter 14.2 of the County Code to specify permanent 20mph speed limits on 58 street segments within 13 school zones (areas within 600 feet of schools). The County Board approved the proposal and code changes. Therefore, demonstration school slow zones are being installed through early 2022. For more information:  

Staff are collecting before (Fall 2021) and after (Spring 2022) vehicle speed data to assess whether the slow zone designs successfully reduce speeds around schools. We also collected community feedback from April 25 to May 15, 2022, to learn about community experiences and observations during the demonstrations. We will apply the feedback received via this form combined with before/after speed data at the demonstrations to finalize our demonstration school zone policy and school zone guidelines. Stay tuned for updates in Fall 2022. (For updates, subscribe to the Vision Zero Monthly Newsletter in the right hand panel of the screen.)

Moving forward, we anticipate installing about ten school slow zones each year, meaning that the 40-plus public and private schools in the County will have school zone retrofits within three to five years.

Multimodal Safety Toolbox

The final draft Multimodal Engineering Safety Toolbox is now posted for public review. This updated document incorporates changes that respond to the feedback we received during public engagement as well as an extensive internal review process from DES and DOT colleagues.

Review the Final Draft(PDF, 9MB)

Ver el Borrador Final (Proximamente)

The project team will present the final draft at meetings of the Transportation Commission and Planning Commission in Fall 2022. Dates and times for these meetings are or will be posted below:

Presentation to Transportation Commission

  • Date: September 1, 2022
  • Time: 7pm

More information

Presentation to Planning Commission

  • Date: TBD
  • Time: TBD

More information (coming soon)

First Draft

Arlington’s first draft of our Multimodal Engineering Safety Toolbox is ready for your review and comment! The Toolbox is a communications and engagement tool that explains the how, why, when and where of placing engineering safety tools on our streets.

Review the Toolbox | Ver el documento

The online feedback form was open from January 14 through February 15, 2022 to gather public comments and input on the draft Toolbox. A summary of the feedback we received will be available here as soon as it is ready.

Community Conversation: The draft Multimodal Engineering Safety Toolbox

On Tuesday, February 1 from 7-8:30pm, the Vision Zero team held an online public workshop to collect feedback on the Toolbox draft. The meeting recording is available below, along with the chat transcript and presentation slides.

Meeting Resources

Existing Guidelines

County guidelines (which we have developed and are developing) help us determine how to most effectively use the safety tools at our disposal. This includes pavement markings, pedestrian and cyclist infrastructure, and rapid rectangular flashing beacons (RRFBs), to name a few.

The links below share existing guidance for safety treatments, with more on the way.

  • Bus Stop Guidelines (Updated March 2020): This manual lays out the guidelines for bus stops within the County, and emphasizes accessibility for disabled riders, consistency in the design of bus stops, safety for all road users, and convenience and comfort for transit riders.
  • Marked Crosswalk Guidelines (Updated August 2021): This manual describes the guidelines for the design and placement of marked crosswalks, with a focus on safety, accessibility, and uniformity.
  • Sign Installation Guidelines (Updated May 2020): This standard establishes requirements for the size and location of signage to maximize visibility and ensure uniformity and safety.
  • “Cross Traffic Does Not Stop” Guidelines (Updated January 2021): This document lays out guidance for selecting locations in which to install a “Cross Traffic Does Not Stop” plaque at stop signs to maximize safety at intersections where criteria are met.
  • In-Street Pedestrian Crossing Sign Guidelines (Updated January 2021): This manual lays out guidelines for the placement of in-street pedestrian crossing signs to promote pedestrian safety at unsignalized locations and/or marked crosswalks.
  • Median Nose Guidelines (Updated March 2019): This manual sets out design and location specifications for median noses at crosswalks, with an emphasis on pedestrian safety and accessibility. It provides options for the installation of measures at or near median noses to increase driver awareness to eliminate driver confusion and/or collisions with the median noses.
  • Speed Feedback Indicator Sign Guidelines (Updated January 2021): This document describes guidelines for installation and use of Speed Feedback Indicator Signs, with an emphasis on discouraging speeding and promoting safety for all road users.
  • Streetlight Installation Process (Updated 2020): This document examines the split ownership of Arlington’s streetlights between the county and Dominion and sets out guidelines for both the specifications of streetlights based on the situation in which they are to be installed and the installation process.
  • Turning Vehicles Yield to Pedestrians Sign Guidelines (Updated January 2021): This document sets out guidelines for placement of these signs and focuses on ensuring that they are installed in locations to promote both pedestrian safety and efficient use of county resources.