Collaboration in Civic Spheres

Redmond Red Light Camera Pilot Program: Policy Memo

by Andrew Hart May 11th, 2010

Aligned with policy recommendations in an April 20, 2010 memo from Redmond Mayor John Marchione, the Redmond, Wash. City Council voted 6-0 on that date to authorize the city negotiating a contract to install red light cameras at three intersections and in two school zones. The goal is to improve traffic safety and pedestrian safety.

BACKGROUND:  Intersections are among the most dangerous sections on the road. A 2001 nationwide poll found that 78% of Americans favor increased intersection safety. Across the U.S., there has been a push to increase intersection safety through the use of Red Light Photo Enforcement. A study of 350 U.S. cities that have implemented Red Light Photo Enforcement found such programs can mitigate the dangers of intersections and improve motorist behavior. Forty percent of traffic accidents occur at intersections. Each year, red light running accounts for over 180,000 crashes, 90,000 injuries, and 1,000 deaths.

“The use of cameras has shown a reduction in the total number of serious crashes by 16%, ‘t-bone’ crashes by 26%, violations and fatalities while also positively affecting driver behavior” (J. Marchione, memo, 20 April 2010). A 2006 poll found that 82% of Seattle residents support installing red light cameras. The City of Redmond has been considering implementing a Red Light and School Zone Photo Enforcement program for over a year and a half. Programs implemented in similar cities have been successful, decreasing the number of violations at intersections and school zones.

KEY DOCUMENT: Proposed Pilot Red Light Camera and School Photo Enforcement Program,” City of Redmond City Council Agenda, 4/20/2010. The memo sought the council’s approval to “negotiate a proposed agreement with American Traffic Solutions (ATS) for a 30 day warning period and 12 month pilot program for red light violations and speed limit violations at selected school zones.” The memo details the proposed program, considered vendors, benefits and costs of the program, and the recommendation of the staff.

KEY FINDINGS: The Police and Transportation Department considered the following factors to determine locations for intersection photo enforcement program: traffic volume, number of collisions, and frequency of red light violations. They found the the following intersections to be the best candidates:

  • Eastbound/Westbound N.E 40th Street at 156 Avenue N.E. (41 violations per day)
  • Eastbound Redmond Way at 148th Avenue N.E. (33 violations per day)
  • Westbound/Northbound Union Hill Road at Avondale Road (44 violations per day)
  • To determine schools for the school zone photo enforcement, the staff considered number of complaints and ability to provide motorists with clear notification of a school zone area. They believe the best candidates to be:

  • Einstein Elementary
  • Redmond Junior High
  • Through the use of Red Light and School Zone Photo Enforcement, the police department hopes to prevent red light and school zone speed violations, making these locations safer for motorists, pedestrians, and bicyclists.

    ADDITIONAL FINDINGS: The police department considered two vendors for the photo enforcement program, ATS and Redflex. They recommend ATS due to superior customer service and availability.

    The proposed fine amount for citations given through the program is $124, an amount consistent with neighboring jurisdictions and the amount that would be given for the infraction by a police officer.

    Through monthly fees to the vendor, the City expects the program to cost $453,000 per year. Revenues of the program will go to the King County District Court to cover the costs of the City of Redmond’s contract for court services with the King County District Court. Any excess revenue will be allocated for public safety improvements, such as street signage, crosswalk maintenance, enforcement initiatives, and equipment.

    One Response to “Redmond Red Light Camera Pilot Program: Policy Memo”

    1. 4 RLC Questions
      Red Light Camera Test, for Revenue or Safety?
      1. Were any INDEPENDENT intersection traffic safety engineering studies performed by a State licensed civil engineer prior to camera vendor selection?
      2. Did the traffic safety engineering studies recommend any intersection safety improvements? 
      3. Where any traffic safety engineering recommendations/improvements implemented prior to the selection of a camera vendor?
      4. Were INDEPENDENT traffic studies performed after intersection engineering improvements to document improvements?
      If these questions were all answered Yes, the intersections are already safer without the need for red light ticket cameras. 
      RLCs do not prevent crashes, they document traffic engineering errors. The correction of these engineering errors reduces violations and crash rates to the point that camera vendors can’t make a profit and citizens are safer.