City officials say that motorist’s have come to know where the “hidden” cameras are and adjust their driving accordingly. Despite the lower ticket numbers, officials are happy to point out that accidents in the corresponding areas are also down. Intersections with red light cameras had a 20% reduction in overall injuries to pedestrians. The number of fatalities has also dropped according to the Department of Transportation.
Some 190 cameras have been installed throughout the city over the past 5 years without change to their location, the Internet is now filled with websites warning and revealing where they are located. The revenue dropped from $42 million in 2012 to $33 million in 2013.
Mayor DeBlasio wants Albany to allow more cameras which he says would be used to fine speeding drivers and collect more revenue in addition to the notable safety improvements. The request for more cameras has stalled in Albany but local groups such as a Park Slope block association have started a petition requesting cameras to be placed at the intersection of Flatbush Ave. and Sterling Place.
“Throughout the red light camera program, DOT has closely monitored the system’s performance and placed these safety tools at locations where they will be most effective at deterring red light running,” said spokesman Nicholas Mosquera.
But local results can vary. In recent years, municipalities including Los Angeles, Philadelphia and St. Petersburg, Fla., have found that crashes increased at intersections where cameras are installed. Everything from the choice of intersection, to how long a light stays yellow before turning red, to the methods used to evaluate the cameras can influence whether they are deemed successful.
Counting rear-end crashes, for example, can sometimes mean the cameras increase the total number of accidents—as drivers slam on the brakes when they see a warning—though even an overall increase in collisions can be worthwhile, some researchers say, if the most severe crashes decline.
The city can actually install more cameras if they wish in an effort to reduce intersection accidents but they won’t be able to issue the summonses they generate with state permission.