Red-Light Cameras: For Revenue or Safety?

Conflicting opinions have arisen over the use of red-light cameras. But, new evidence may finally put an end to arguments over whether they actually improve safety, or are only effective in increasing revenues.
October 4, 2012, 7am PDT | Andrew Gorden
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Last year, both Los Angeles and Houston shut off their red-light cameras. Still, hundreds of other U.S. cities use them, citing their supposed ability to curb traffic collisions. Until now, the data supporting the cameras' ability to alter driver behavior to improve safety was murky. However, The Atlantic Cities's Eric Jaffe reports on some new evidence.

Researchers studied eight intersections in Virginia. Although they observed a decrease in the number of vehicles entering the intersections on red when cameras were present, and turned on, "What intrigued (and unsettled) the researchers was how quickly drivers reverted to red-light running form," notes Jaffe. "In the immediately aftermath of the law's expiration, the risk of someone running a red light at an intersection was three times higher than it had been when cameras were on."

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Published on Wednesday, October 3, 2012 in The Atlantic Cities
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