GUIDANCE FOR USING RED LIGHT CAMERAS

Federal Highway AdministrationNational Highway Traffic Safety Administration

March 20, 2003


INTRODUCTION

UNDERSTANDING OF THE PROBLEM

PROBLEM IDENTIFICATION

COUNTERMEASURES AND THEIR APPLICATIONS

RED LIGHT CAMERA PROGRAM IMPLEMENTATION

REFERENCES

BIBLIOGRAPHY

APPENDIX A PHOTO RED LIGHT ENFORCEMENT LEGAL CONSIDERATIONS

LIST OF TABLES

Table 5-1 SELECTED RED LIGHT CAMERA SYSTEM ACQUISTION,
INSTALLATION, OPERATIONS, AND MAINTENANCE
ALTERNATIVES

Table 5-2 PAYMENT OPTIONS FOR CONTRACTOR OWNED AND OPERATED RED LIGHT CAMERA SYSTEMS

Table 5-3 PAYMENT OPTIONS FOR AGENCY OWNED AND CONTRACTOR OPERATED RED LIGHT CAMERA SYSTEMS

Table 5-4 PUBLIC AWARENESS AND EDUCATION CAMPAIGN ELEMENTS USED BY SELECTED RED LIGHT CAMERA PROGRAMS

Table 5-5 CAMERA UNITS COMPARED

RED LIGHT CAMERA PROGRAM IMPLEMENTATION

Site Selection

Sites selected for the installation of red light camera systems should be based on crash and, when properly used, red light running violations data. As discussed earlier, data regarding the total number of crashes may be used, although intersections with high numbers of collisions may not have a high number of crashes related to red light running. Violation data needs to be applied with some caution. Locations where it is known that there are high numbers of red light running violations may not have corresponding high numbers of crashes related to the red light running. Heavily traveled intersections where there are heavy left turn movements operated on protected left turn phases are often intersections of this type. Traffic volumes, except when used as a factor to determine the incidence of crashes or violations, are not a suitable measure for selected locations for the installation of red light cameras.

The installation of red light camera equipment at a signalized intersection identified as one with a problem with red light running should be done only after the results of a engineering study of the intersection determines that engineering improvements or other measures cannot be implemented or would not be effective in reducing the incidence of red light running. If other alternatives are not available or cannot be deployed in a timely or cost effective manner, the use of a red light camera system should be considered.

Other criteria for the location of red light cameras include suggestions from law enforcement and traffic safety professionals and input from community groups including complaints regarding red light running. These criteria should be applied in conjunction with crash and violations or citations data. A means for community review of any planned or proposed locations, such as by posting on the agency web site or announcements through the broadcast media, should be done before locations are finalized and design work begins.

Typically, red light cameras are located at intersections based on these criteria:

· At "high risk" or historically dangerous intersections, based on the number of crashes or, where available, on an analysis of the number of crashes attributable to red light running; citation data, or complaints; and/or
· At intersections where an engineering study has concluded that engineering improvements, driver education initiatives, or other countermeasures cannot be implemented or would not be effective in reducing the number of crashes attributable to red light running.

Undesirable characteristics that will also affect decisions regarding the installation of red light cameras include:

· Driveways that restrict camera pole or auxiliary flash placement;
· Approaches that are more than three lanes wide and double left turn lanes where views are more frequently obstructed; and
· Wide crossing streets where second photographs may not be taken at the pre-determined location due to motorists speeding up and slowing down as they traverse the intersection.