Do red light cameras work?

NY Times: With Cameras on the Corner, Your Ticket Is in the Mail

While Baltimore reports that violations for running red lights have gone down 60 percent at the 47 intersections with such cameras, several studies in recent years – in places like San Diego, Charlotte, N.C., and Australia – have offered a fuzzier picture. The studies have shown that the reduction in side-angle collisions at the intersections has been wholly or largely offset by an increase in rear-end accidents like Ms. Correa’s.

In addition, there has been criticism of the cameras’ use to generate revenue from fines – in some cases exceeding $300 per violation, with points on a driver’s record – and of revenue-sharing arrangements with providers of the technology. Those arrangements, critics contend, have led to the placement of cameras not necessarily where they would best promote safety, but where they will rack up the most violations.

Back in Sept., Ed Cone pointed to a report by two profs from N.C. A&T Urban Transit Institute. Their conclusion: “The results do not support the view that red light cameras reduce crashes. Instead, we find that RLCs are associated with higher levels of many types and severity categories of crashes.”

There wasn’t much pick-up of the Sept. study, but now that it’s in the NY Times where more journalists can see it…

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