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Lesson from Houston: Crashes Double after Red Light Cameras Removed

Red light cameras are usually controversial. In Houston voters chose to remove 50 cameras at high-risk intersections. Since then, crashes have increased 117 percent.
October 29, 2014, 12pm PDT | James Brasuell | @CasualBrasuell
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Horia Varlan

James Pinkerton reports: "Auto crashes more than doubled at busy Houston intersections after red light cameras were pulled from those areas, according to figures released by the Houston Police Department."

The decision to remove the cameras was costly in financial terms as well: "The controversial network of cameras installed at 50 high-risk intersections was taken down after it was defeated in a November 2010 referendum, halting an estimated $10 million in annual revenue to HPD. After the vote, the city filed a lawsuit against American Traffic Solutions, based in Arizona, to settle a breach of the camera contract, and eventually agreed to reimburse ATS $4.8 million for early termination."

The traffic safety figures came to public attention during a Public Safety Committee hearing regarding the "Strategic Growth Plan" under consideration by the Houston Police Department. 

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Published on Tuesday, October 28, 2014 in Houston Chronicle
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