Red Light Camera - Studies and Politics

Studies and Politics

A report in 2003 by the National Cooperative Highway Research Program (NCHRP) examined studies from the previous 30 years in Australia, the UK, Singapore and the US, and concluded that red light cameras "improve the overall safety of intersections where they are used." While the report states that evidence is not conclusive (partly due to flaws in the studies), the majority of studies show a reduction in angle crashes, a smaller increase in rear-end crashes, with some evidence of a “spillover” effect of reduced red light running to other intersections within a jurisdiction. These findings are similar to a 2005 meta analysis, which compared the results of 10 controlled before-after studies of red light cameras in the US, Australia and Singapore. The analysis stated that the studies showed a reduction in crashes (up to almost 30%) in which there were injuries, however, evidence was less conclusive for a reduction in total collisions. Studies of red light cameras worldwide show a reduction of crashes involving injury by about 25% to 30%, taking into account increases in rear-end crashes, according to testimony from a meeting of the Virginia House of Delegates Militia, Police, and Public Safety Committee in 2003. These findings are supported by a review of more than 45 international studies carried out in 2010, which found that red light cameras reduce red light violation rates, crashes resulting from red light running, and usually reduce right-angle collisions.

In terms of location-specific studies, in Singapore a study from 2003 found that there was "a substantial drop" in red light violations at intersections with red light cameras. In particular the study found that drivers were encouraged to stop more readily in areas with red light cameras in use. A report from civic administrators in Saskatchewan in 2001, when considering red light camera use, referred to studies in the Netherlands and Australia that found a 40% decrease in red light violations and 32% decrease in right-angle crashes where red light cameras were installed. Following the introduction of red light cameras in Western Australia, the number of serious right-angle crashes decreased by 40%, according to an article from the Canberra Times. In an article from the Xinhua General News Service, the Hong Kong transport department reported that in 2006 the monthly average number of crashes due to red light violations fell 25% and the number of people injured in these crashes decreased by 30%, following an increase in the number of red light cameras in use.

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