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N/A | National U.S. Pennsylvania: Red Light Camera Accidents Increase in Philadelphia

Discussion in 'Politics, Laws, Government & Insurance' started by robsalvv, Feb 26, 2013.

  1. FYI, just stumbled across the article below.

    There are similar findings in the UK where they've had to turn off many cameras due to severe budget cuts.

    = = = = =


    Pennsylvania: Red Light Camera Accidents Increase in Philadelphia
    Ten years of accident data show accidents increase at Philadelphia, Pennsylvania red light camera intersections.
    Philadelphia, Pennsylvania deputized American Traffic Solutions (ATS, formerly Mulvihill) in 2005, granting the Arizona-based for-profit firm authority to issue traffic tickets at intersections on the city's behalf. The red light camera program's current logo includes a spy camera bearing the motto "Slow down and smile. We're keeping tabs so we can keep you safe." Ten years' worth of data provided by the Pennsylvania Department of Transportation show traffic has become less safe as accidents increased at the first two intersections to use photo enforcement.


    The camera at Grant Avenue and Roosevelt Boulevard came online in June 2005, issuing 41,951 tickets worth $4,195,100 through April 2012. At Red Lion and Roosevelt Boulevard, the cameras began ticketing in September 2005, issuing 28,506 tickets worth $2,850,600. Despite the $7,045,700 in combined tickets (through April 2012), accidents and injuries are on the rise.

    In the five years before cameras were installed (2000 to 2004), there were 138 accidents at the Grant Avenue location. In the five years after the camera were turned on (2007 to 2011), the number increased 15 percent to 159 collisions. Camera proponents often dismiss rising accident figures by claiming the jump only reflects an increase in minor fender benders. The data show otherwise, with a 27 percent increase in the number of collisions involving an injury (103 in the before period compared to 131 in the after period). Angle collisions did not decrease as promised.

    The results were nearly identical at the Red Lion Road location where accidents increased 18 percent from 82 to 100 once cameras were operational. In the before period, 56 collisions involved an injury, a figure which grew to 80 in the after period. Again, cameras did not reduce angle collisions, as the photo enforcement proponents promised they would.

    Officials in Philadelphia spent $22,500 last year hiring the firm Ceisler Jubelirer LLC to lobby lawmakers and the media in the hopes of convincing them the red light camera program has been effective. The state initially refused to release reports on the performance of the red light camera system, going so far as to outlaw the sharing of such information with the public by statute (
    view law).

    A copy of the accident report data is available in a 400k PDF file at the source link below.
    Source: [​IMG] Red Light Camera Accidents Before and After (Pennsylvania Department of Transportation, 2/15/2013)
  2. as usual, I'm not sure if these reports actually tell us anything. If the traffic flow through the junctions increased by more than 15% in the 5 years after the cameras were fitted, then they do in fact have a net road safety improvement. you just can't tell, because the full data to make a robust assessment on is never gathered.
    • Like Like x 1
  3. just a quick word from a maths nazi... the above is a rise of ~21%, not 18... thats wither lazy reporting, or someone manipulating the numbers

    82 is 18% LESS than 100 but
    100 is ~21% MORE than 82

    but hey, its not like they would let facts get in the way

    continue with original conversation :)
  4. True dat, in relativistic terms.

    But a threat of a fine should all but stop the behaviour no matter what the increase in traffic is like. So from that point of view, the camera program has been a failure. The fact that crashes have gone up in quanta terms would be a double blow to those expecting a clear and unambiguous reduction.
  5. Only if the cameras are clearly signed will that happen. If they are stealth cameras then the deterent value is zero and they are just a revenue raiser. Now, where have we seen that before?
  6. As it turns out, the cam sticks out like the proverbial. http://goo.gl/maps/qWVAM
  7. What's the bet that a lot of people brake harder and earlier on an amber light if they know there's a red light camera?

    It would be interesting to know how many collisions at those lights are rear-enders.
  8. now that would be funny
  9. That is exactly what has happened in the UK. Fender benders have gone up around cameras due to this sudden braking effect.
  10. Another story from the US about crashes increasing at red light camera'd intersections.


    Rhode Island: Accidents Increase With Red Light Cameras
    City data show accidents continue to rise at red light camera intersections in Providence, Rhode Island.
    [​IMG]After a decade of toying with the use of red light cameras, Providence, Rhode Island has seen a continued spike in the number of accidents at photo enforced intersections. Between 2006 and 2012, the program generated $6,160,975 in revenue, but accidents have skyrocketed over the last three years.

    According to the city's annual reports to the state, obtained by GoLocalProv, there were 28 property damage collisions and 10 injury collisions at red light camera intersections in 2010. In 2011, collisions jumped 189 percent to 81, though injury collisions dipped to 7. Last year property damage accidents increased another 15 percent to 96 while injury accidents grew to 12. Over three years, the number of collisions had grown 242 percent.

    The city now has fifteen intersections monitored by cameras that are owned and operated by Xerox. A 2006 press release explained the goal of hiring a private, for-profit company to issue tickets was, "deterring people from causing accidents by running red lights." The city first began experimenting with photo ticketing in 2003, but a district court judge scolded the city for doing so without the authorization of state law. Providence lobbyists were instrumental in convincing the legislature to enact a statewide photo ticketing law in 2005.

    From the beginning, the city has been chided for its failure to demonstrate a safety benefit to the camera operation. In 2008, the American Civil Liberties Union of Rhode Island issued a report blasting Providence for using misleading statistics to justify continuance of the program in light of increasing accidents (view report).

    "Anyone attempting to analyze the city's data in any meaningful way is left scratching his or her head," the report stated. "It quickly becomes apparent that the numbers given cannot be trusted because they simply don't add up, making it impossible to come to any scientifically significant -- or even correlational -- conclusions."

    A copy of the accident data can be found in a 170k PDF file at the source link below. Note: the second page is incorrectly labeled as the 2009 annual report. It contains data from the 2011 report.

  11. I've never seen a single report where the accident rate at a location that has had a camera fitted, has unequivocally been proven to have gone down. Ever.

    conversely, where road layout and infrastructure has been improved I have seen proven accident rate reductions reported.
  12. Simon, appreciating that you have some eye for studies and data, if you head over to the MUARC site, you might find some interesting although, un peer reviewed paid for research, which glorifies all kinds of traffic cameras.
  13. Likewise I have never seen a report that proves the camera was the cause of any increase. Poor attitude, judgement and courtesy are factors only the driver can control. No technology for infringement detection will change that unless the individual has respect for the law and not just fear.
    • Like Like x 1
  14. Fair points. So how would you explain the linked media report?
  15. There is no explanation for the experiment would have to be conducted further. Something like take a sample and remove the signs but leave the cameras and yet another sample where the cameras are removed but the signs remain. Even then it would be no where near a conclusive study.
  16. No explanation really? Hazard a guess? If all things remained equal except for the installation of camera and signage and there was a statistically significant and sustained increase in crashes correlating with the installation, and this artefact is not an isolated one, are you still certain there are no possible explanations? How about a hypothesis that could be tested?
  17. I gave you the best two ways to test. Some remove signs and some remove signs and cameras. You see it may be the signs not the cameras or perhaps people just don't give a damn. Even if you came up with the hypothesis that it was the signs that caused the distraction that caused the crash it's going to be pretty hard to prove.
  18. KISS.
  19. I think Monash University have shown the hazards in over simplifying the criteria. There are many lobby groups out there that would like to see their paradigms met with short cut conclusions. But they risk the whole premise of the scientific method.

    Then there are others that simply can't read legislation between States and create fictitious examples to explain their case. The classic is the interpretation of Section 5 in the Qld TORUM and how it is significantly different to other States.

    This is not off topic as it is just another example of the puerile way so called experts interpret data. 100% of non-smokers will die. Lies, damn lies and STATISTICS.
  20. Gotta love MUARC..... not