Case Study #67: Red Light Camera Enforcement, Boulder, Colorado

Problem
A high number of red light violation crashes were occurring at several city intersections.

Background
Across the country, cities have begun to tackle the problem of red light running from a technological perspective. Red light running has been the cause of numerous fatal accidents involving motorists, passengers, bicyclists, and pedestrians. In fact, these accidents often have a higher chance of being fatal due to the fact that the running vehicles are more likely to be traveling at high speeds to race through the intersection. The City of Boulder began to address the issue in 1998 after recording a high number of accidents at some of the city's intersections.

Solution
Since August 1998, the city of Boulder has been using photo enforcement technology to enforce traffic laws and improve safety at a few designated signalized intersections. Camera housing costs between $10K and $20K depending on site specifics. The Cameras Rent for about $2,350 plus another $375 for field maintenance. The city program for red light running includes four photo red light cameras. The photo red light cameras have been in operation since August 1998.

Results
In the thirty months since its inception, the program has demonstrated substantial benefit in the reduction of red light running at the four locations where it is currently deployed. In 1998, after implementation of photo red light cameras, there was an average of 69 violations daily. In 1999, there was a 9 percent reduction with an average of 62 daily red light violations. This improvement increased in 2000 with a 21 percent reduction from 1998 to 54 daily red light violations. The first quarter of 2001 shows further improvement with a 34 percent reduction from 1998 levels to an average of 45 daily violations. Table 1 summarizes these results.

Authoring Organization: 
PedSafe, City of Boulder, Colorado

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