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Are red-light cameras effective in making city streets safer?


James13b: March 30, 2014 10:49 a.m.

These cameras encourage speeding. I can't even count the number of times I have seen people gun it trying to make it through a yellow light trying to avoid getting their picture taken. Not to mention people slamming on their breaks trying to avoid getting one and almost causing a pile up. These aren't safe and don't do anything but empty our pockets and fill the city's funds. Last time I checked that's what the sheriffs were for. Or are they too busy playing on their new scooters?

technologist: April 4, 2014 9:23 p.m.

The City must be required to commission an objective 3rd party traffic study prior to consideration of contract renewal.

Case Studies: Longer Yellow Light Times Improve Safety
Posted on May 16, 2013 by Jay

The safety benefit of longer yellow signal times has been proven in a number of studies. In a 2004 Texas DOT study, traffic engineers Bonneson and Zimmerman noted that when the yellow interval duration is set one second longer than the “minimum time” based on the 85th percentile speed, violations decreased by 53% and crashes decreased by 40%.

Fremont, CA

Fremont, CA has been using photo enforcement since the early 2000′s. In November of 2010, CalTrans officials examined the intersection of Mission Blvd. and Mohave Drive and increased the yellow signal time for the straight through movement by 0.7 second above the minimum time required by state law to a full 5.0 seconds. The intersection experienced a significant reduction in straight through violations and the lower violation rate has not returned to earlier levels. As can be seen in the chart below, the positive safety results achieved by lengthening the yellow signal time have now remained in place for more than 24 months. Overall, there has been an average 76% decrease in citations during the study period and we have yet to observe any rebound to previous violations levels.

It's about revenue, not traffic safety.

Red-light cameras being stopped

Red light cameras at Vanowen Street and Balboa Boulevard, Friday, April 22, 2011. By Steve Scauzillo, San Gabriel Valley Tribune

Red-light cameras — controversial traffic enforcement devices that can ding an unsuspecting motorist for $500 a pop for minor infractions like illegally turning right on red — are slowly fading to black.

For the first time since they were introduced in the 1980s, statistics show a large drop in the number of cities and counties using the photo enforcement systems. Yet many smaller cities are hanging on to the programs to keep the revenues they raise.

Carlitos: April 5, 2014 6:31 p.m.

Who writes these polls?
A flu pandemic with many fatalities would make traffic safer because the decadents wouldn't be on the road.
Safety has never really been the point. The contract was renewed based on revenue projections. There is no reference to traffic safety studies, or signal light timing analysis, planning, and optimization. If this cost money, rather than making money, it would not have been approved. How many lives are saved or lost just isn't a factor under consideration.

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