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Delivering a first-rate transportation system for Seattle Scott Kubly, Director







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Progressive Ticketing

Tool Snapshot: Progressive Ticketing

  • After a period of awareness building, unsafe behaviors are detected and ticketed.


  • Can be high visibility through media coverage.
  • Can quickly identify offenders.
  • Consequences are often sufficient to deter behaviors.


  • Requires police resources, which may include overtime pay.
  • Needs to be done at regular intervals.
  • Should be reserved for serious offenses.

Progressive ticketing is a method for introducing ticketing through a three-staged process. Issuing tickets is the strongest strategy of an enforcement program and it is usually reserved for changing unsafe behaviors that other strategies failed to change or that pose a real threat to the safety of pedestrians.

There are three main steps of an effective progressive ticketing program:

  1. EducatingEstablish community awareness of the problem. Raising awareness about the problem will change some behaviors and create public support for the enforcement efforts to follow.
  2. WarningAnnounce what action will be taken and why. Give the public time to change behaviors before ticketing starts. Fliers, signs, newspaper stories, and official warnings from officers can all serve as reminders.
  3. TicketingFinally, after the warning time expires, hold a press conference announcing when and where the police operations will occur. If offenders continue their unsafe behaviors, officers issue tickets.

Beginning a ticketing program with education and warnings is important, as it provides time to build support for the program as well as time for offenders to change their behaviors. Issuing warnings allows police to contact up to 20 times as many non-compliant drivers than the writing of citations does. In addition, the high frequency of stops ensures not only that many people directly make contact with law enforcement, but also that many others witness these stops and are prompted to start to obey the rules.

Issuing tickets is needed, however, to deal with the drivers who continue the unsafe behaviors. Ticketing also gives the program credibility by showing that law enforcement is doing exactly what they said they would do if unsafe behavior did not change.

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