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Safety Evaluation of Red-Light Cameras (April 2005)

Safety Evaluation of Red-Light Cameras (April 2005)

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Published by Ars Technica
Safety Evaluation of Red-Light Cameras (April 2005)
Safety Evaluation of Red-Light Cameras (April 2005)

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Published by: Ars Technica on Nov 15, 2013
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Safety Evaluation of Red-Light Cameras
PUBLICATION NO. FHWA-HRT-05-048APRIL 2005
Research, Development, and TechnologyTurner-Fairbank Highway Research Center6300 Georgetown PikeMcLean, VA 22101-2296
 
FOREWORD
This is a final report on a study to evaluate the effectiveness of red-light-camera (RLC) systems in reducing crashes. The intended audience is professionals who make decisions about safety  programs for intersections. The study involved empirical Bayes before-and-after research using data from seven jurisdictions across the United States to estimate the crash and associated economic effects of RLC systems. The study included 132 treatment sites and specially derived rear end and right-angle unit crash costs for various severity levels. 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. A disaggregate analysis found that greatest economic benefits are associated with the highest total entering average annual daily traffic, the largest ratios of right-angle to rear end crashes, and with the presence of protected left-turn  phases. There were weak indications of a spillover effect that point to a need for a more definitive, perhaps prospective, study of this issue. Michael F. Trentacoste, Director Offices of Safety Research and Development
Notice
This document is disseminated under the sponsorship of the U.S. Department of Transportation in the interest of information exchange. The U.S. Government assumes no liability for the use of the information contained in this document. This report does not constitute a standard, specification, or regulation. The U.S. Government does not endorse products or manufacturers. Trademarks or manufacturers' names appear in this report only because they are considered essential to the objective of the document.
Quality Assurance Statement
The Federal Highway Administration (FHWA) provides high-quality information to serve Government, industry, and the public in a manner that promotes public understanding. Standards and policies are used to ensure and maximize the quality, objectivity, utility, and integrity of its information. FHWA periodically reviews quality issues and adjusts its programs and processes to ensure continuous quality improvement.
 
 
1. Report No 2. Government Accession No. 3. Recipient's Catalog No.
FHWA-HRT-05-048
 
 N/A N/A
4. Title and Subtitle 5. Report Date
April 2005
6. Performing Organization Code
Safety Evaluation of Red-Light Cameras
 N/A
7. Authors(s) 8. Performing Organization Report No.
Forrest M. Council, BMI-SG; Bhagwant Persaud, Ryerson University; Kimberly Eccles, BMI-SG; Craig Lyon, Ryerson University; and Michael S. Griffith, Federal Highway Administration.
 
 N/A
9. Performing Organization Name and Address 10. Work Unit No. (TRAIS)
 N/A
11. Contract or Grant No.
DTFH61-96-C-00077
13. Type of Report and Period Covered
Battelle Memorial Institute
 
505 King Avenue
 
Columbus, OH 43201
 
Final – 11/19/01 – 11/30/04
12. Sponsoring Agency Name and Address 14. Sponsoring Agency Code
ITS Joint Program Office and Office of Safety Research and Development Federal Highway Administration 6300 Georgetown Pike McLean, VA 22101
15. Supplementary Notes
Contracting Officer’s Technical Representative:
Michael Griffith, FHWA Office of Safety Research and Development 16. Abstract
The objective of this final study was to determine the effectiveness of red-light-camera (RLC) systems in reducing crashes. The study used empirical Bayes before-and-after research using data from seven jurisdictions across the United States at 132 treatment sites. The purpose of the study was to estimate the crash and associated economic effects of RLC systems and specially derived rear end and right-angle unit crash costs for various severity levels. 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 right-angle crashes. The analysis showed an aggregate crash cost benefit of RLC systems. A disaggregate analysis found that the greatest economic benefits are associated with the highest total entering average annual daily traffic, the largest ratios of right-angle to rear end crashes, and with the presence of  protected left turn phases. There were weak indications of a spillover effect that points to a need for a more definitive,  perhaps prospective, study of this issue.
 
17. Key Words 18. Distribution Statement
Red light camera, Empirical Bayes, Crash evaluation, Economic analysis,
Signalized intersection
 No restrictions. This document is available to the Public through the National Technical Information Service; Springfield, VA 22161
19. Security Classif. (of this report) 20. Security Classif. (of this page) 21. No. of Pages 22. Price
Unclassified Unclassified 95 N/A
Form DOT F 1700.7 (8-72) Reproduction of completed page authorized (art. 5/94)

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