Red Light Cameras Term Paper

Pages: 7 (1994 words)  ·  Style: APA  ·  Bibliography Sources: 6  ·  File: .docx  ·  Topic: Physics

Red Lights Camera


Red-Light Cameras

Department of Transportation reported that more than 92,000 crashes have resulted in 900 deaths every year by drivers beating red traffic lights (Harvey 2005). Red light running or beating the red light has been identified as a significant cause of accidents at signalized intersections (Hakkert 2004). Studies on accidents at such intersections in the Australian states of Victoria, Western Australia and Queensland from 1994 to 1998 were conducted. They found that 15-21% of accidents were related to red light running. The U.S. General Estimates System, on the other hand, reported that of the 260,000 red light running accidents, 750 were fatal. The high-volume casualty required prompt attention and appropriate countermeasures to confront and solve the problem. A primary countermeasure has been the automatic enforcement with the help of red-light cameras or RLC (Hakkert).Download full Download Microsoft Word File
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TOPIC: Term Paper on Red Light Cameras Assignment

Red light cameras were first used in Europe in the early 70s. They became widely used in Australia in the 80s and in the U.S. In the early 90s. The basic technology was developed in the 60s. It records images and sound by using still 35 mm "wet-film" cameras. R:C systems respond to the color of the traffic signal through an electronic connection to the traffic signal controller. It uses electromagnetic sensors placed underground in the pavement near the intersection entry point. As soon as the red signal flashes, the camera is activated for a fraction of a second up to a second. A vehicle beating or crossing the red is photographed twice with a one-second interval. The camera records the image of the vehicle itself and the surrounding scene. The photographs also record the date and time of the offense, the vehicle speed, duration of the yellow signal and the length of time the red signal flashed until the vehicle crossed the red signal. The second photograph records the vehicle proceeding through the intersection while the red signal was on. Recent technological advances allow the use of video and digital cameras in place of conventional wet-film devices. Video cameras take shots of frames of the violating vehicle as it crosses the intersection. Most RLC systems are portable and can be used at many intersections if the necessary sensors and connections to the traffic signals have been installed. When housing units are installed at many different intersections, each camera can cover more areas.

This study will investigate if red-light cameras reduce the prevalence of red-light running.

Literature Review

Hakkert, a.S. And Gitelman Viktoria (2004). Effectiveness of Red-Light Cameras. Road % Transport Research: ARRB Transport

The authors discuss the international findings of a study on the effect of red-light cameras in Australia, USA, Great Britain, Singapore and other advanced countries. A meta-analysis of the findings showed an average of 18% reduction in injury accidents at the designated intersections in these countries. The reduction was observed as greater in accidents where the vehicles moved in opposite directions. Injury accidents with vehicles moving in the same direction increased after the installation of the cameras. The average reduction in total accidents was low. The effects were consistent among all the countries studied.

The study found that the installation of red-light cameras at signalized intersection greatly reduced driver violations of red lights at 40-60% in most of the countries investigated. Other studies conducted on the effects of RLC in proximate intersections found similarly significant and positive results on the behavior of drivers.

Hakkert and Giterlman discussed two groups of evaluation studies on driver behavior and accidents. Following previous studies conducted by the Transport Research Laboratory in the UK, researcher Baguley said that drivers coming to a traffic signal would be caught in what he termed "dilemma zone." This was the amber period during which the driver would have to choose whether to stop or beat the red light. Baguley saw three groups of drivers in this situation. In the first group were drivers caught in the dilemma zone. In the second group were those who could stop comfortably but chose to beat the red light. And in the third were those who behaved as if completely unaware of beating the red light.

Studies, which measured the rates of violations before and after the installation of red-light cameras found substantial reductions in violation rates at these sites or approaching them at 40-60%. A recent Canadian review reported the reductions at 30-50%. Four other studies compared sites with these cameras and other sites without cameras. Findings showed large reductions in violation rates. In areas other than communities at a reasonable distance from these sites, reductions either increased or decreased lightly. In general, findings of studies on red-light running following RLC installation showed positive results both in the camera sites and in nearby intersections. Drivers adjusted their behavior towards red-light running. Drivers began adjusting their behavior towards red-lights running, not only on enforced locations but also in proximate or other places.

Lum, K.J. And Wong, Y. O (2003). A Before-and-After Study on Red-Light Camera Installation. ITE Journal: Institute of Transportation Engineers

The authors write on the impact of installing and operating red-light cameras in three signalized intersections in Singapore before and shortly after installation. A driver approaching a signalized intersection before the stop-line must decide between stopping and proceeding. The choice is difficult when he is in the option zone or the dilemma zone. Red-light cameras encourage drivers to stop instead of beat the red light.

Previous researches on the effects of RLC installation in Virginia and California in the U.S.A. have shown reductions in red-running violations at both the camera site and sites proximate to the camera. Most of the violators were younger, less likely to wear seat belts and had poor driving records. Previous studies on attitudes towards RLC in Norway, Spain and the Netherlands revealed support for the use of RLC as complementary to police efforts in curbing red-running violations.

This before-and-after study conducted in Singapore showed that violation rates dropped significantly at an average of 40%. Violations were generally higher during weekends. Its findings also indicated an increase in red-stopping rates nearing camera approaches in the after-RLC situation. Drivers were also found more inclined to stop during weekends approaching the installed camera.

Harvey, D. (2005). Red-Light Cameras. Oakland Tribune: ANG Newspapers

Police officer Dan Harvey writes about the installation of the first camera system in the city of Fremont in August 2000 at the intersection of Fremont Boulevard and Mowry Avenue. This intersection had the highest rate of collision in the city. Traffic collisions decreased by 50% since the installation. Fremont is a large city where people on the go neglect and overtake red lights and cause crashes. A convicted violator receives a penalty of one point on his or her driving record. He or she may go back to traffic school if he or she fails to meet court requirements. There are roughly 10-15 reported collisions in Fremont each day. These red-light cameras help patron officers enforce red-light ordinances to reduce violations at every intersection.

Ramroop, T (2006). Red-Light Cameras: a Hot Trend. Oakland Tribune: ANG Newspapers

The use of red-light cameras for the select intersections of San Mateo seemed to have been a success. These intersections had higher accident rates than other intersections, according to Police Lt Tom Daughtry. From May 1, 2005 to January 1, 2006, the San Mateo police issued more than 6,000 citations on the basis of photographic findings. The state Judicial Council fixed the minimum red-light violation fine at $348.50, but which could increase or decrease, according to individual circumstances. Many other county cities would follow the example of San Mateo to install red-light cameras at their busiest intersections, such as El Camino Real. The police attested to their effectiveness in preventing accidents and catching violators. Millbrae police would also install these cameras at two major intersections on El Camino Real and Rollins Road. Police department was signing an agreement with a red-light camera for a trial run. It would measure traffic flow in those intersections and then make recommendations. According to Hillsborough Police Captain Mark O'Connor, his department would install red-light cameras on El Camino Real and Floribunda Avenue. He said that the narrow intersection was a trouble spot. There were 136 accidents and 49 injuries in 12 years in that particular intersection alone. The department aimed at reducing the incidence of injury collisions in securing and installing these cameras. Officials of Belmont discussed the same action in a City Council meeting in view of the city's two-person traffic unit and worsening congestion. Sgt Patrick Halleran added that red-light cameras would be set up also at Ralston and Hiller Street. He said that the RLS would free their resources up.

San Francisco lawyer Sherry Gendelman, however, argued that the cameras themselves would not be a lawful means of punishing violators. He said that camera enforcement could provide only hearsay evidence. He furthermore maintained that RLS was an unreliable technology, which could malfunction if it got wet. A 2004 U.S. Supreme Court case, Crawford v Washington, would… [END OF PREVIEW] . . . READ MORE

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APA Style

Red Light Cameras.  (2008, March 15).  Retrieved December 2, 2021, from

MLA Format

"Red Light Cameras."  15 March 2008.  Web.  2 December 2021. <>.

Chicago Style

"Red Light Cameras."  March 15, 2008.  Accessed December 2, 2021.