Progressive Ticketing

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 students.

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

1. Educating

Establish community awareness of the problem. The public needs to understand that drivers are speeding around schools and the consequences of this speeding for children’s safety. Raising awareness about the problem will change some behaviors and create public support for the enforcement efforts to follow.

2. Warning

Announce 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. Ticketing

Finally, 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. Communities often find that parents receive many of the warnings and tickets issued by officers with school officials also being occasionally ticketed (Moffat, 2006; Gillum, 2005). When conducting speed enforcement inside neighborhoods, 75 to 80 percent of the ticketed drivers live within a mile of the enforcement site. Conducting enforcement at a school results in the percentage typically being on the higher side of this range.

Issuing warnings allows police to contact up to 20 times as many non-compliant motorists 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 (Van Houten & Malenfant, 2003).

Issuing tickets is needed, however, to deal with the motorists 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. Unfortunately, for some people, receiving a ticket and experiencing the consequences are the only ways to get them to become safer drivers.

Tool: 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.