Red Light Camera Report Shows Crash Reduction at City Intersections


ROCHESTER, NY (WROC) - A recent study conducted by SRF Associates for the City of Rochester shows a 28% reduction in crashes at intersections with red light cameras.

The drafted report was given to council members on Thursday night.  According to Carolee Conklin, a council member for the city, they requested the report because legislation is up for red light cameras.  The state renewed their legislation allowing municipalities to renew or get rid of theirs.  In order to decide whether to renew or not, the council felt they needed a report.  SRF Associates based their findings on police reports.

"It was a really illuminating," Conklin said.  "Because one of four original thoughts when we originally authorized it was that it would help reduce accidents."

The authorization for the red light cameras was in 2010.  Today, there are 48 red light cameras at 32 intersections in Rochester.

City engineer, Jim Mcintosh, said the cameras generate 80 to 90,000 tickets a year.  He said the statistics from the report show a positive trend for red light cameras.

"The big one that surprised us was accident reduction involving an injury," Mcintosh said.  "There was over 80% reduction in red light camera intersections of accidents that involved an injury.  Accidents with just property damage were reduced by 70%."

The draft includes a diagram with the total data collected at red light cameras.  It shows that total collisions were reduced from 477 pre-camera, to 294 post-camera.  The graph also includes a drop in the total injury collisions, total right angle collisions, total right angle collisions with an injury, total rear end collisions, total collisions involving disregard of traffic control device and total injury collisions involving disregard of traffic control.

A local attorney doesn't agree that red light cameras are preventing crashes.  Michael Steinberg said it was bound to happen.

"At any place - at any traffic light - you will have violations go up and down," Steinberg said.  "Everything varies around certain steady point.  It's like weather.  Some days it's warm, some days it's cool."

Steinberg also believes red light cameras pigeon hole people since it only shows them going through the red light but not what's happening around them.

City Council members could vote as early as October on whether to extend the program through 2019.

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