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Red Light Camera System Web Seminar
e-mail | 5-7-08 | ITE

Posted on 05/07/2008 12:16:43 PM PDT by jim_trent

RED LIGHT CAMERA SYSTEM DEVELOPMENT AND PLACEMENT FOR INTERSECTION SAFETY WEB SEMINAR

Date: Tuesday, May 20, 2008 Time: 2:00 p.m.-3:30 p.m. Eastern Credit: 1.5 PDH/.15 IACET CEU

Background: Red light running is a serious safety issue at many intersections in the US and other countries. Cameras that automatically record red light violators and provide the means for issuing citations by mail have been shown to reduce the collision toll under some circumstances over the past few years.

However, the success of a camera program depends upon many good decisions being made by the responsible jurisdiction and engineers. This course will instruct engineers on the basics for considering a red light running camera enforcement program to enhance intersection safety.

Students should realize that the scope of the course does not include the details of camera operation or program administration. These details are important but vary widely by vendor and jurisdiction.

Learning Objectives: At the conclusion of the course, participants should be able to:

1) Recite basic statistics on red light running

2) Discuss the major reasons that drivers run red lights and cause collisions

3) Recall general findings from the literature on camera effectiveness

4) Recite other countermeasures for red light running collisions besides cameras that may be effective in some places

5) Discuss the basic criteria that guide effective choices of intersection approaches to receive cameras

6) Argue the key aspects of effective camera systems such as grace periods, signing, public information, and driver versus vehicle citations

7) Discuss the need for camera system oversight and periodic effectiveness evaluation

Intended Audience: Traffic engineers, transportation engineers, consultants and TOPS, PTOE and TSOS certificants


TOPICS: Government
KEYWORDS: bigbrother; donutwatch; privatesecurity; redlightcameras; revenuetickets; talkingpoints; taxes
I just thought this might be interesting to those who insist that Red Light cameras are a fad and are going away. What kind of thing that this does is provide the arguments to the local politicians who need cover to place Red Light cameras for monetary reasons.
1 posted on 05/07/2008 12:16:43 PM PDT by jim_trent
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To: jim_trent

They aren’t going away.

Far from it.
Learn to protect yourself from them.


2 posted on 05/07/2008 12:23:52 PM PDT by bill1952 (I will vote for McCain if he resigns his Senate seat before this election.)
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To: bill1952

“Learn to protect yourself from them.”

I don’t buy from businesses within the immeditate area of a camera as the chance of a ticket for a simple error is too high. Not a boycott, just risk averse behavior.


3 posted on 05/07/2008 12:28:28 PM PDT by TexanToTheCore (If it ain't Rugby or Bullriding, it's for girls.........................................)
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To: jim_trent
1) Recite basic statistics on red light running

$100 / ticket times number of tickets issued = big cash for the city. If the mayor's idiot brother-in-law is hired as a subcontractor, then installation is nearly guaranteed.

2) Discuss the major reasons that drivers run red lights and cause collisions

The yellow light was too short and the drivers didn't have a chance to stop

3) Recall general findings from the literature on camera effectiveness

Cameras are more effective at revenue generation if the yellow light is shortened, thus getting more drivers to run a red light.

4) Recite other countermeasures for red light running collisions besides cameras that may be effective in some places

Longer yellow lights - revenue negative.
Obvious police presence - revenue negative.
Two second 4 direction red light - revenue negative.

5) Discuss the basic criteria that guide effective choices of intersection approaches to receive cameras

Put them up where people are more likely to not see the red light, such as at the end of a blind curve. Ka-ching!

6) Argue the key aspects of effective camera systems such as grace periods, signing, public information, and driver versus vehicle citations

Grace periods are no revenue periods = bad
signing and public information - Warning of red light cameras reduce revenue = bad
Driver citation require a clear picture of the driver who is more likely to go to court, while vehicle citations often don't even have a court option = mo money mo money mo money!

7) Discuss the need for camera system oversight and periodic effectiveness evaluation

When drivers discover the cameras and their location become publicly known, they might interfere with the camera revenue by stopping at the red light. Move cameras often to prevent this.

4 posted on 05/07/2008 12:32:11 PM PDT by KarlInOhio (Pray for Rattendaemmerung: the final mutually destructive battle between Obama and Hillary in Denver)
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To: jim_trent
If they really want to stop collisions, do what most towns in New Jersey do -- a 1-3 second pause between one direction turning red and the opposing direction turning green. Oh, wait. You can't collect more money that way. Nevermind.
5 posted on 05/07/2008 12:48:13 PM PDT by Question_Assumptions
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To: KarlInOhio
We have these in Tucson, AZ. If you are from out of state or out of country (Mexico, Canada), you are safe because they only can give to local drivers. This is discrimination.

Solution: Get a license plate cover that blocks your number from the side and above. This also works on speed photo radar vans.

6 posted on 05/07/2008 12:48:38 PM PDT by Tucson Jim
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To: All

What about the excessive accuracy of the red light cameras causing a decrease in revenues. People run fewer lights to revenue goes down. Fewer tickets because no close calls at the “discretion” of the officer.


7 posted on 05/07/2008 12:50:51 PM PDT by longtermmemmory (VOTE! http://www.senate.gov and http://www.house.gov)
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To: jim_trent

8) Show how to reduce yellow light duration to ensure more people run red lights.

9) Identify the most dangerous intersections in your city and ignore them, then identify the most used intersections for camera placement.

I’ve heard they’re doing it right in some places, but in others numbers 8 and 9 apply, as they’re doing it purely for income.


8 posted on 05/07/2008 12:50:54 PM PDT by antiRepublicrat
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To: jim_trent

Here in Texas they are turning them off because revenue fell off. It isn’t about saving lives. It is about the money.


9 posted on 05/07/2008 12:56:55 PM PDT by weegee ("I didn't kill innocent people." - Bill Ayers, Weatherman. Terrorist. Obama's comrade.)
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To: longtermmemmory

I had a co-worker tell me she got a “speeding” ticket for “approaching” a school zone (at 30mph) without slowing down (the quote she used was that the officer said “you weren’t going to slow down until you saw me...”).


10 posted on 05/07/2008 1:00:16 PM PDT by weegee ("I didn't kill innocent people." - Bill Ayers, Weatherman. Terrorist. Obama's comrade.)
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To: jim_trent
I do need to find a source for this but IIRC, 80% of the tickets issued are for failing to clear the intersection before the light turns red, even if you entered under a yellow or a green. Those are not the infractions that accidents are made of, they're the infractions that revenue is made of.

It is also contrary to the way the law was enforced when I learned to drive, meaning that what counted was the status of the light as you entered the intersection. Plenty of drivers will learn that things have changed and learn it the hard (and expensive) way.

Now consider the effect shortening the yellow light duration will have. Not only do you need the reflexes of a NASCAR driver but a heavy foot as you zoom through to get across the far line in time. This is insanity.

Meanwhile, studies have shown (again I need to find a source link) that increasing the yellow duration - and in many cases that means restoring the recommended minimum!!! - has a dramatic effect on dropping the number of infractions. Yeah, giving a vehicle enough time to clear the intersection under normal operating conditions reduces technicality violations, imagine that.

There ought to be a law - against tampering with the traffic control system.

11 posted on 05/07/2008 1:01:08 PM PDT by NonValueAdded (Who Would Montgomery Brewster Choose?)
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To: Tucson Jim
Solution: Get a license plate cover that blocks your number from the side and above.

But be sure your state hasn't turned that into an "obstructing justice" violation or its equivalent first.

12 posted on 05/07/2008 1:03:39 PM PDT by NonValueAdded (Who Would Montgomery Brewster Choose?)
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To: KarlInOhio; antiRepublicrat

I am not pro-Red-Light-Cameras, but the BS you two are spouting about yellow-lights is not true. The first time that charge was made was a case in California. I actually talked to a traffic guy from there during an ITE meeting shortly after it happened.

He said that the red lights were set to the standard ITE formula. That is 3 to 5 seconds in most cases (depending on the speed limit, width of the intersection, and grade — among other things). Seems that a State legislator got a ticket. He introduced a bill to make the yellow time a flat 5 seconds and got it passed. That made virtually ALL yellow light times in California “illegal”. Unfortunately, longer yellow times than the ITE formula have been proven countless times to be LESS safe than correct times.

To be more specific, there is a short term increase in safety (for 3 to 6 months) when the yellow signal is lengthened. Then regular users of the intersection learn about the longer time from experience and push the limits like they did originally. The technical word for this in the literature is “habituation”. Then the safety goes down to where it was or, in some cases, even lower (since the intersection can service fewer cars in a given period of time, making everyone more impatient.

You two are taking a POLITICIANS side against repeated peer-review scientific testing in this particular case.


13 posted on 05/07/2008 1:06:59 PM PDT by jim_trent
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To: jim_trent

By far, the easiest way to solve the problem is to delay the green light for the other drivers, say by three seconds. They will not start until well past the time that the light changed.


14 posted on 05/07/2008 1:13:23 PM PDT by Fractal Trader
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To: weegee
My son was killed by a red light runner at the intersection of I-10 and Antoine I wish there had been a red light camera there then, the guy got off with nothing. He wasn't even deported but then that was 1984, no RLCameras then.
15 posted on 05/07/2008 1:21:22 PM PDT by Ditter
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To: NonValueAdded

Here are several posted studies (back when I was looking at them).

http://www.motorists.com/issues/enforce/studies/TRB2004-001228.pdf
http://tti.tamu.edu/documents/4027-2.pdf
http://www.ltrc.lsu.edu/TRB_82/TRB2003-000136.pdf
http://www.ltrc.lsu.edu/TRB_82/TRB2003-000943.pdf
http://www.ltrc.lsu.edu/TRB_82/TRB2003-000285.pdf
http://stc.utk.edu/htm/pdf%20files/red.pdf
http://www.uritc.uri.edu/media/finalreportspdf/536146.pdf

However, I do not believe they back up what you say. The way the literature says they are supposed to be set up is to have the camera come on the moment the signal turns red. Anyone entering the intersection after that gets a ticket. Anyone entering the intersection before that should not get a ticket.

Lengthing the yellow indication to longer than the ITE formula (generally 3 to 5 seconds, depending on several physical factors) does NOT increase safety. In most cases, it decreases safety. Unless the yellow indication time is set wrong to begin with, lengthing it will not increase safety.

The science of traffic control uses statistics more than any other form of engineering (and I have worked in several of them). Statistics can be twisted and misused, but it is starting to prove out that in most cases, Red-Light-Cameras do slightly increase safety. It greatly reduces T-bone accidents which are the kind that are most often fatal. However, it increases rear-end accidents. These kind of accidents usually have fewer deaths, fewer and less serious injuries, and less property damage.

I wish it did not have to be done because the reason it is being used is for revenue, not safety. In addition, it will make it easier to use more cameras resulting in further loss of privacy. But, it is coming. The groundwork for this was laid 10 years ago. It is just coming to fruition now.

I have been saying here that “congestion-pricing” in the next big thing on the horizon. It is now where Red-Light-cameras was 10 years ago. Now is the time to kill congestion-pricing. it is too late to kill Red-Light-cameras, but most here do not agree. In 10 years when they have to start paying money for absolutely NOTHING (which is what congestion-pricing is) you will hear their yells.


16 posted on 05/07/2008 1:23:28 PM PDT by jim_trent
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To: Ditter

> “My son was killed by a red light runner...”

My sympathies to you and your family. I was hit by a red-light runner about 10-12 years ago with my entire family in the car. Luckily, no one was hurt (other than some sore joints the next few days). The cost to fix my 2-month old car was approx 25% of the new value.

He did not have license plates or insurance on his car. The red-light runner lied about everything that happened and was eventually given a $25 ticket. AFTER the verdict was rendered, it was revealed that he had a whole string of red-light running accidents.

I would have dearly loved an unbiased red-light camera at that time.


17 posted on 05/07/2008 1:29:41 PM PDT by jim_trent
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To: jim_trent
Maybe increasing the yellow light times above the ITE recommended time doesn't decrease accidents, but decreasing it below the ITE time does increase revenue.

6 Cities That Were Caught Shortening Yellow Light Times For Profit March 26th, 2008

My assertion is that the primary purpose for these cameras is revenue generation. Whether accidents are reduced or increased is largely immaterial to local governments. If you find out your local community is installing them, get your video cameras and stopwatches out to record and time the light pattern to make sure it is legal and be prepared to publicly embarrass anyone involved with the evidence when you find out the lights aren't set correctly.

18 posted on 05/07/2008 1:45:52 PM PDT by KarlInOhio (Pray for Rattendaemmerung: the final mutually destructive battle between Obama and Hillary in Denver)
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To: Tucson Jim

Such license plates obstructions are an offense in and of themselves here in TX, even though the law was recently amended to prohibit “substantial impairments”. Now COPS just interpret the law, so no difference. I have seen tickets given for this violation as an attorney.


19 posted on 05/07/2008 2:36:38 PM PDT by Clump (Your family may not be safe, but at least their library records will be.)
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To: jim_trent
the BS you two are spouting about yellow-lights is not true.

Interesting.

My stopwatch says otherwise.

My local revenue enhancement officers (mayor and council) announced two red light camera installations with the usual blather about only safety.

Off I went, stopwatch and notebook in hand, to said intersections. In little time I had a lot of info on the sequence, timing and duration of the light cycles.

One installation was approved, and after completion, back was I, before and after the grace period.

The yellow light duration was not the only thing manipulated.

Light sequencing for time of day/directional density was altered to increase the total number of red lights presented to motorists in any one time period, and red lights were presented to through traffic packets when there were no cross traffic or pedestrians present to use the intersection.

The interesting thing about this last trick is that presenting a red to a group of motorists just to make them stop for no purpose is not outlawed or restricted. Additionally the mistiming of lights is the largest reason for red light infractions in this case.

Truth, honesty or consideration do not lie with the municipality, here.

20 posted on 05/07/2008 3:16:19 PM PDT by Navy Patriot (John McCain, the Manchurian Candidate.)
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To: Fractal Trader
By far, the easiest way to solve the problem is to delay the green light for the other drivers, say by three seconds.

Generally, this is the best solution. The exact duration may be able to be tweaked a bit, but there will be a large overall reduction in T-bones and revenue.

21 posted on 05/07/2008 3:26:06 PM PDT by Navy Patriot (John McCain, the Manchurian Candidate.)
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To: jim_trent
From theNewspaper.com:

Red Light Camera Studies Roundup

A collection of red light camera studies over the last decade shows red light cameras have serious side-effects.

Over the past decade, a number of studies have examined the use of red light cameras. The most relevant studies examined the devices in light of changes in traffic and engineering conditions made at intersections during the study period and pulled actual police reports to examine the particular causes of each collision. The following studies are the most comprehensive available:

A 2008 University of South Florida report found:

"Comprehensive studies conclude cameras actually increase crashes and injuries, providing a safety argument not to install them.... public policy should avoid conflicts of interest that enhance revenues for government and private interests at the risk of public safety."

A 2007 Virginia Department of Transportation study found:

"The cameras were associated with an increase in total crashes... The aggregate EB results suggested that this increase was 29%... The cameras were associated with an increase in the frequency of injury crashes... The aggregate EB results suggested an 18% increase, although the point estimates for individual jurisdictions were substantially higher (59%, 79%, or 89% increases) or lower (6% increase or a 5% decrease)."

A 2006 Winnipeg, Canada city audit found:

"The graph shows an increase of 58% in the number of traffic collisions from 2003 to 2004.... Contrary to long-term expectations, the chart shows an increase in claims at each level of damage with the largest percentage increase appearing at the highest dollar value."

A 2005 Virginia DOT study found:

"The cameras are correlated with an increase in total crashes of 8% to 17%."

In 2005, The Washington Post found:

"The analysis shows that the number of crashes at locations with cameras more than doubled, from 365 collisions in 1998 to 755 last year. Injury and fatal crashes climbed 81 percent, from 144 such wrecks to 262. Broadside crashes, also known as right-angle or T-bone collisions, rose 30 percent, from 81 to 106 during that time frame."

A 2004 North Carolina A&T University study found:

"Our findings are more pessimistic, finding no change in angle accidents and large increases in rear-end crashes and many other types of crashes relative to other intersections."

A 2003 Ontario Ministry of Transportation study found: "Compared to the average number of reported collisions occurring in the before period, the average yearly number of reported collisions increased 15.1 per cent in the after period."

Related Reports and Studies

The importance of the yellow warning signal time in reducing the instances of red light running is found in the following reports:

A 2004 Texas Transportation Institute study found:

"An increase in yellow duration of 1.0 seconds is associated with a [crash frequency] of about 0.6, which corresponds to a 40 percent reduction in crashes."

A 2001 report by the Majority Leader of the U.S. House of Representatives found:

"The changes in the yellow signal timing regulations have resulted in the inadequate yellow times. And these inadequate yellow times are the likely cause of almost 80 percent of red light entries."

________________________________________

Note: The preceding excerpts have links to sources at the theNewspaper.com web page linked at the beginning of this post.

22 posted on 05/07/2008 4:22:55 PM PDT by Ken H
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To: jim_trent
Thanks for the studies. I learn from the second one that you are familiar with the "permissive yellow" red light running occurs when you enter the intersection on red as opposed to the non-permissive variety where you must exit the intersection before red. I'm told the latter applies here in Florida; the study says Texas is permissive yellow and that roughly half the states are permissive.

The study did not list confusion as to the definition of running a read light (i.e. assuming permissive yellow in a non-permissive state) as a contributing factor. I suppose for a Texas study that's understandable while it would be significant for a non-permissive case study. (pp 2.2-2.3)

While that tamu study did say too long a yellow cycle will cause a small incidence of increased red-light running (RLR) p. 2.9, it also showed a substantial improvement in compliance with a one second increase (53% fewer RLR) p.5-20. The fifth summary finding on page 6-8 says a nominal increase of .5s to 1.5s of yellow still yields a 50% decrease in RLR's even considering the learned misbehavior. The College Sta. observations on page 5-29 bear that out.

23 posted on 05/07/2008 5:51:58 PM PDT by NonValueAdded (Who Would Montgomery Brewster Choose?)
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To: Navy Patriot

The City I live in has about 900 intersections with traffic signals. The City does not have a traffic engineer to keep the computer in each one of them up to date. They hire private firms to do that.

They use type 170 controllers. In them there is room for up to 9 different timing plans. The minimum in almost all of them around here is 3 different plans (morning rush hour, evening rush hour, and all other times). Different plans mean different times for each color. Between each plan, there is also a transition built into the computer — and that also changes the color time. In addition, the timing for each light depends on the cars above the sensors in the pavement (or other types of monitors). There is a maximum and minimum time for each color in each direction, depending on the number of cars it senses.

It is entirely possible (theoretically) for EVERY SINGLE color in each direction to be a different stop-watch time during the day. There are about a dozen pages of printouts on the computer settings for each and every intersection that details how it is programmed. I assume that you took all of this into account when you stood nearby with your stopwatch.

Since the City does not have an engineer monitoring these around here, it is farmed out a private firms, including the one I work for. In a given working day, there are between a dozen and three-dozen changes made to timing. This is based on malfunctions, changes in traffic, new or widened streets nearby changing traffic patterns, new businesses that draw traffic, new housing developments, and new apartments. The traffic count is taken at about 300 intersections per year to get this information. Actually, the ITE recommends that traffic counts be taken yearly and the traffic light timing be reviewed and adjusted each year. It never gets done, but that is ideal, of course and that would cost 3 times the money.

In case you have not guessed by now, I will spell it out more plainly. Standing nearby with a stop-watch at one time and then comparing it with a different time will tell you absolutely nothing. You are spouting BS.

We don’t have Red-Light-cameras around here, yet. However, the only State Senator that was totally opposed to that was forced out by term limitations this year. I fully expect it to be authorized by the legislature next year.


24 posted on 05/07/2008 6:55:30 PM PDT by jim_trent
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To: Ken H
And, “The Journal of the Politics of Driving” is supposed to be an unbiased peer review periodical?

There is no question that there are some studies that show more accidents and others that show fewer accidents. Like I said before, Traffic Engineering uses statistics more than any branch of engineering I have any experience with. For that reason alone, it is suspect. However, the trend is towards proof that Red-Light-cameras do make intersections slightly more safe on average.

The ITE formula that I have mentioned several times started out like that 70 years ago. There is more than enough proof that it works now. It has been studies to death. Anyone who says it doesn't is received like a “troother” or holocaust denier. Eventually, Red-Light-cameras will be the same.

25 posted on 05/07/2008 7:02:12 PM PDT by jim_trent
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To: NonValueAdded

My state is the permissive yellow, too.

One of the studies I included is frequently quoted around here by people who say that lengthening the yellow increases safety. However, they only quote what they want to hear from it. The guy who wrote it is pressing for the maximum ITE yellow time to go from 5.0 seconds to 5.5 seconds. From my understanding, the safety curve is essentially flat between 5.0 and 5.5 seconds. The establishment wants to leave it at 5.0 seconds. So he is arguing with the establishment over 1/2 of one second.

To read some of the people on this website, 7 to 10 seconds would be better. It would not. No peer reviewed article I know of supports that. Even the guy mentioned above agrees that anything more than 5.5 seconds is dangerous.

We include a one-second, all-red indication on all collector and primary roads. That is pretty well supported in the literature and in our experience as being better than longer yellows. That seems to help things around here, but the suggestions I hear about going to 3 seconds scare me. You only have 60 seconds in a minute to move traffic. Anything you do to reduce the number of vehicles that can pass through an intersection will make it more dangerous since people are impatient enough as it is.


26 posted on 05/07/2008 7:14:41 PM PDT by jim_trent
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To: jim_trent
Standing nearby with a stop-watch at one time and then comparing it with a different time will tell you absolutely nothing.

But then that's not what I did. Sadly for you, I made the comparisons on the same day of week and the same time of day, excluded holidays and sporting events.

The minimum in almost all of them around here is 3 different plans (morning rush hour, evening rush hour, and all other times). Different plans mean different times for each color. Between each plan, there is also a transition built into the computer — and that also changes the color time. In addition, the timing for each light depends on the cars above the sensors in the pavement (or other types of monitors). There is a maximum and minimum time for each color in each direction, depending on the number of cars it senses.

I am aware of all of this, and it tends to make my argument.

There is a maximum and minimum time for each color

This is an admission that yellow light times are manipulated.

It is entirely possible (theoretically) for EVERY SINGLE color in each direction to be a different stop-watch time during the day.

A second admission that EVERY light is manipulated.

computer settings for each and every intersection that details how it is programmed. I assume that you took all of this into account when you stood nearby with your stopwatch.

Yes, it's not that hard.

In a given working day, there are between a dozen and three-dozen changes made to timing. This is based on malfunctions, changes in traffic, new or widened streets nearby changing traffic patterns, new businesses that draw traffic, new housing developments, and new apartments. it is farmed out to private firms, including the one I work for.

Again, manipulation, and you guys are great to be able to widen streets, build new ones, new businesses and apartments inside a DAY.

Actually, the ITE recommends that traffic counts be taken yearly and the traffic light timing be reviewed and adjusted each year. It never gets done

So there's nobody watching you?

We don’t have Red-Light-cameras around here, yet. I fully expect it to be authorized by the legislature next year.

And the contracting supplier getting a percentage, will that be yours?

You are spouting BS.

I can't hold a candle to you.

27 posted on 05/07/2008 8:07:22 PM PDT by Navy Patriot (John McCain, the Manchurian Candidate.)
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To: KarlInOhio

That pretty well nails it.


28 posted on 05/07/2008 8:10:01 PM PDT by FreedomPoster (<===Non-bitter, Gun-totin', Typical White American)
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To: jim_trent
This is about the reverse: A short-term shortening of the yellow lights will result in more run red lights. You can move the camera after that. If you don't agree with the profit motive used in places, check out this article. Yellow lights are covered in part 2.
29 posted on 05/07/2008 8:40:30 PM PDT by antiRepublicrat
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To: Navy Patriot

> “But then that’s not what I did. Sadly for you, I made the comparisons on the same day of week and the same time of day, excluded holidays and sporting events.”

And you had exactly the same number of cars on top of each sensor, too, I suppose. If not, the times WILL be different.

> “This is an admission that yellow light times are manipulated.”

You use the word manipulated as a weapon over and over. The times are “manipulated” within computer set boundaries to minimize the amount of red time whenever possible. I see that as helping the motorist — and so does the ITE.

> “Yes, it’s not that hard.”

Totally wrong, and you don’t even realize that. I would really, really like to see you set up the times on an intersection some day.

> “Again, manipulation, and you guys are great to be able to widen streets, build new ones, new businesses and apartments inside a DAY.”

Deliberately misrepresenting things again. The traffic timing is usually changed AFTER a traffic count, which is done after the traffic has stabilized after construction is done. The “manipulation” is done to reduce the amount of time spent on red based on the latest data.

> “So there’s nobody watching you?”

The politicians who hire us get reports on what we do every year. If they cannot handle it, maybe they should hire their OWN traffic engineer. They can do that you know. However, places that have done that usually end up with worse traffic timing because the POLITICIANS end up dictating what they want instead of what is best for the City as a whole.

> “And the contracting supplier getting a percentage, will that be yours?”

Wrong. We (and other engineering consulting firms that I am aware of) don’t do Red-Light-cameras. A completely different, self-contained “for profit” firm does that.


30 posted on 05/08/2008 5:30:52 AM PDT by jim_trent
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To: antiRepublicrat

“The requested document does not exist on this server.”

I don’t doubt that the “profit” motive is driving Red-Light-cameras. That does not mean that they cannot increase safety, too.

The claim that times are deliberately manipulated to increase tickets (which means decrease safety) may be true, but it has not been proven to my satisfaction yet. I did take the time to track down the first case I saw posted here that claimed that and talked to the traffic engineer there. The claims in the article were completely wrong as most newspaper reporting is — especially on technical matters. For that reason, I question unsubstantiated claims from a website that has a very obvious axe to grind.


31 posted on 05/08/2008 5:38:48 AM PDT by jim_trent
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To: jim_trent

My city installed red light cameras without first checking their own county’s law that requires something like 70% of moving violation fines to be given to the school system.

They paid a contractor 70% to install, maintain and collect the fines. After a suit to challenge the legality of this was concluded the city had to pony up several million in taxpayer money to the school system and canned the cameras.


32 posted on 05/08/2008 5:41:45 AM PDT by Rebelbase (Carbon is the fifth most abundant element on the planet.)
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To: jim_trent

Try the site again. It worked for me. It’s the best series of articles explaining this.

Now my state is a bit different. IIRC for a city to place cameras it must show how those intersections are relatively more dangerous and thus deserving of a camera. In that case I have no problem with them.


33 posted on 05/08/2008 5:54:40 AM PDT by antiRepublicrat
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To: Rebelbase

Sounds like your City has stupid politicians. Do you honestly think that we engineers make the original decision to start placing Red-Light-cameras out?


34 posted on 05/08/2008 7:44:34 AM PDT by jim_trent
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To: jim_trent

“Sounds like your City has stupid politicians. Do you honestly think that we engineers make the original decision to start placing Red-Light-cameras out?”

My city has pathetically stupid politicians. How or why you implicated yourself is a mystery to me.


35 posted on 05/08/2008 7:51:01 AM PDT by Rebelbase (Carbon is the fifth most abundant element on the planet.)
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To: Rebelbase

I guess you do think we make the decision. Sorry to burst your bubble, but the stupid politicians make that decision. After it is made, we do our best to make it work.

I have aften wondered if an engineer was actually caught manipulating the traffic light timing to decrease safety and an accident happened. I believe that , at the very least, he would lose his license.

The engineer who was involved in the walkway collapse in the Kansas City Hyatt Regency several years ago lost his license and was never allowed to practice engineering again. This in spite of the fact that he designed the connection correctly. The contractor found it hard to build, so he submitted an alternate plan — the one that failed. Somehow, it was never reviewed by the engineer, never approved, but it was built anyway. Because of that, he lost his livelyhood. I believe that engineers are stronger at policing their craft than any other professional. BTW, I think the Hyatt engineer became a politician — or was it a salesman.


36 posted on 05/08/2008 10:22:54 AM PDT by jim_trent
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