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Cameras Increased Accidents, City Wants More

October 21, 2009

Canada: Cameras Increased Accidents, City Wants More
City report shows serious accidents more than doubled at red light camera intersections in Grande Prairie, Canada. 

Crash photo by CanadaGood/FlickrAccidents increased significantly at intersections equipped with red light cameras in Grande Prairie, Canada according to a city report completed last month. The review found that after a full year of use, cameras generated $1.2 million in revenue along with a 126 percent increase in injury collisions.

“Since the installation of red light cameras in Grande Prairie, the City has issued over 6000 violation tickets since the program was initiated,” red light camera Program Manager Garry Roth wrote in his report. “There have not been significant reductions in collisions, while only a few of these collisions during this time frame, have actually resulted from a red light violation.”

The program, which is run by the now-bankrupt vendor Nestor Traffic Systems, began issuing citations on June 28, 2008. The city report compiled one full year’s worth of accident data through June 28, 2009 and compared it with a five-year collision average prior to camera installation. The following chart shows the change in the number of injury accidents at each location:

Location Before After Change
100 St at 132 Ave 4 16 +300%
100 St at 116 Ave 7.5 9 +20%
100 St at 100 Ave 4 10 +150%
100 St at 99 Ave 4 6 +50%
100 St at 84 Ave 3.5 4 +14%
116 St at 100 Ave 3 6 +100%
108 St at 100 Ave 4.5 18 +300%
Total 30.5 69 +126%

These findings are consistent with independent studies conducted over the past decade that have documented significant increases in both overall and injury accidents where red light cameras are used (view studies). Despite the dismal results in Grande Prairie, city officials insist their camera program should be expanded. The province recently authorized issuing automated speeding citations from the existing red light camera units.

“Enforcement Services has promoted red light cameras as a means to reduce collisions,” Roth wrote. “While the collision numbers have not decreased significantly since the cameras have been installed, it is still the position of Enforcement Services that enforcement through the camera technology helps promote safe driving habits.”

Only a third of citations issued by the camera program went to straight through violations. Instead, the majority of tickets were issued to drivers who made right-hand turns on red. The number of turning violations would have been higher, but several of the camera-equipped intersections had dedicated turning lanes without traffic signals.

A copy of the report is available in a 45k PDF file at the source link below.

Source: PDF File Review of Red Light Camera Program (City of Grande Prairie, Canada, 9/21/2009)

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