The Garland Transportation Dept has released a report on the Effectivess of Automated Red Light Enforcement, dated September 2006. It primarily examines the four intersections where red light cameras were installed, starting 31 months prior to installation and 31 months after. Each intersection had one approach monitored by a camera.
Some conclusions from the report:
- Crashes have been significantly reduced in both severity and number as a result of the Safelight Garland Program.
- Despite an increase in rear end accidents, total accidents and injuries are significantly lower than before the inception of the Safelight Program.
- Fewer red light running crashes are occurring today than prior to the inception of the program.
- On the approaches that have red light running cameras, no red light running crashes have occurred since the cameras were installed.
The data presents a good picture of the overall effectiveness of the cameras. Some of the interesting facts presented (along with some of my observations):
- When the monitored intersections were compared to control intersections without cameras, accidents at the monitored intersections dropped 25% but accidents at the unmonitored intersections also dropped, about 10%. The report surmises that knowledge of the program has a wider affect than just the monitored intersections.
- More specifically, crashes at monitored intersections caused by red light runners dropped 56% and 38% at the unmonitored intersections.
- There was an increase in rear end crashes but the data doesn't show it was necessarily due to the presence of the cameras. Monitored intersections did have more crashes, increasing from 12 to 17, and the approaches with cameras saw twice as many such crashes, from 5 to 10, but unmonitored intersections saw such crashes more than double, from 21 to 40. It should be noted that rear end crashes are usually much less severe than the high speed, t-bone crashes usually associated with red light runners. Injury crashes at the monitored intersections dropped 27% and incapacitating injuries dropped more than 50%.
- Recorded violations at the monitored approaches dropped almost half over two years, indicating that the cameras are effective tools to reduce red light running.
We are guaranteed that red light cameras will be making the news often over the next half year as the Legislature meets and the issue gets prominent attention. Cities that have red light cameras and some that are investigating camera use have been meeting to standardize some of their practices and expectations. The Dallas Morning News recently carried a story on Getting Traffic Cameras in Sync. Garland takes a prominent lead in the effort—you might want to review it.
To have a copy of the report e-mailed to you, please send a note to Shelley Franklin.
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