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Existing Menlo Park Study on Red Light Cameras

From: domainremoved <Wendy>
Date: Thu, 14 Mar 2019 18:02:27 -0700

Hello all,

I shared the attached document from SaferStreetsLA.org with Drew a couple of weeks ago (I think). Ran into Cecilia at Cafe Zoe's today and she pointed out that this council email includes posting to CCIN, a public log. I had no idea there was a potential feedback loop!

All of you are probably aware of this, but just in case...




So, here goes, I was late to the discussion in the Almanac, so I'm reposting here:

A lot of interesting info in this Menlo Park red light camera study. I originally found it on our city website, but it's posted with many other studies on saferstreetsla.org under the 'Reports' menu. One interesting point below: 'Violator Characteristics'.

"A Detailed Analysis of the Red Light Camera Program in Menlo Park, CA"
By Jay Beeber, Executive Director, Safer Streets L.A., Member ITE

Data collection began in 2008. The study uses data from 2005-2011:
Data from Bayfront Expressway at Willow 
Data from El CAmino Real at Glennwood & Valparaiso
Data from El Camino at Ravenswood and Menlo Ave

Violator Characteristics:
The staff report suggests that since 97% of violators cited for RLC violations are one-time offenders, this indicates that driver education is occurring. However, being caught by a red light camera is a somewhat random event as the vast majority of violations are inadvertent, occurring in the first fraction of a second after the light turns red. Therefore, most citizens who are issued red light camera tickets have otherwise clean driving records and are relatively safe and conscientious drivers. The red light camera ticket is likely the only ticket they have received in decades of driving and odds are it will be their only ticket for many years to come. Therefore, it is to be expected that first time violators make up the bulk of the red light camera citations issued and it is extremely unlikely that this indicates that driver education is occurring. However, if drivers are being educated, they are likely learning a lesson other than that which is intended. First, drivers hit with a $500 fine for being a fraction of a second late crossing the limit line or for making a slow rolling right turn learn to distrust the police and the government officials which have imposed this enforcement scheme upon them. Next, drivers learn to avoid the cities which use this heavy handed form of excessive traffic enforcement. Finally, drivers learn to avoid the intersections where photo enforcement is present or to speed up or slam on their brakes when faced with the onset of the yellow phase when they are near the “indecision zone” on their approach to the intersection. None of these “lessons” are necessarily beneficial to society, but they are being taught to drivers in the hundreds of thousands every year in California.

  • application/pdf attachment: stored
Received on Thu Mar 14 2019 - 17:58:34 PDT

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