[Politech] Red light cameras: Not so dangerous after all, Fed study says? [priv]

From: Declan McCullagh (declan@private)
Date: Tue Oct 04 2005 - 11:58:21 PDT

Previous Politech message:

-------- Original Message --------
Subject: RE: [Politech] Washington Post belatedly discovers red light 
cameras are dangerous [priv]
Date: Tue, 4 Oct 2005 14:07:47 -0400
From: Putnam, Charles <charles.putnam@private>
To: Declan McCullagh <declan@private>


"I look forward to reading the Post's editorial page explaining this one

Spare me, please.

The Federal Highway Safety Administration commissioned a study that
looked at multiple sites and used a variety of statistical measures to
study the effect of red light cameras (RLCs).  The study's executive
summary <http://www.tfhrc.gov/safety/pubs/05049/>
(http://www.tfhrc.gov/safety/pubs/05049/) concluded:

Crash effects detected were consistent in direction with those found in
many previous studies: decreased right-angle crashes and increased rear
end ones. The economic analysis examined the extent to which the
increase in rear end crashes negates the benefits for decreased
right-angle crashes. There was indeed a modest aggregate crash cost
benefit of RLC systems.

In plain English, the study seems to say that RLCs appear to reduce
T-bone crashes, increase rear end collisions and have a modest positive
effect in reducing the total cost of crashes.  A study of RLCs in
suggests a  mostly similar conclusion ["the data show that the cameras
are correlated with a definite decrease in crashes that are directly
attributable to red light running, a definite increase in rear-end
crashes, a possible decrease in angle crashes, a net decrease in injury
crashes attributable to red light running, and an increase in total
injury crashes.  More time is needed to determine whether the severity
of the eliminated red light running crashes was greater than that of the
induced rear-end crashes."] Incidentally, the Virginia study found that
RLCs weren't a terrific revenue boon to local governments.

The post article admits that it didn't have the data to analyze crash
severity or cost and admits that the trend to greater numbers of
accidents is stronger at intersections without the RLCs.  One doesn't
necessarily have to be persuaded by the researchers or the editors, I
suppose, but I'd be very cautious about drawing any firm conclusions
about RLCs from the Post article, much less declaring that those who
disagree about the use of RLCs must roll over and die.

Charles Putnam

-------- Original Message --------
Subject: Re: [Politech] Washington Post belatedly discovers red light 
    cameras are dangerous [priv]
Date: Tue, 4 Oct 2005 14:09:23 -0400 (EDT)
From: james@private
To: Declan McCullagh <declan@private>
References: <4342B960.2040901@private>

Yeah, people hit their brakes hard to stop for these cameras to avoid
being caught in the intersection during a light change.  They tend to
focus on the cameras (who wants to get shaken down by a camera) and it
distracts their attention from the rest of the road.  The Big Brother
Money Maker camera that was on Telegraph Road near the Huntington Metro
was a major source of screeching tires over the last year.

James Landrith
cell: 703-593-2065 * fax: 760-875-8547
AIM: jlnales * ICQ: 148600159
MSN and Yahoo! Messenger: jlandrith
Taking the Gloves Off - http://www.jameslandrith.com
The Multiracial Activist - http://www.multiracial.com
The Abolitionist Examiner - http://www.multiracial.com/abolitionist/

-------- Original Message --------
Subject: RE: [Politech] Washington Post belatedly discovers red light 
cameras are dangerous [priv]
Date: Tue, 4 Oct 2005 14:14:16 -0400
From: Richard M. Smith <rms@private>
To: 'Declan McCullagh' <declan@private>, <me@private>, 
'Richard M. Smith' <rms@private>


Thanks for the pointer to the Washington Post story on red light cameras.
According to an article in yesterday's Boston Globe, Boston and Cambridge
are thinking of installing red light cameras also as a safety measure.  No
one in the article considered the possibility that these cameras might
actually increase accidents.   I just sent everyone mentioned in the Globe
article the WashPost article and the listing of red light camera studies.
Perhaps a little reality will give these decision makers some pause.

Here's the Globe story:



P.S.  Does anyone know who makes the camera systems themselves?  I'm curious
what sort of databases are being created.

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