AAA Michigan helped prove one of NMA's points relating to red light running. AAA Michigan has used relatively inexpensive structural changes to dramatically cut crashes at problem intersections -- without the use of camera enforcement.
AAA Michigan worked with Detroit city engineers to identify problem areas. They focused on high-crash intersections. The problem intersections were identified, then specific improvements were decided upon and implemented. Improvements such as enlarging traffic light lenses by 50 percent, re-striping left turn lanes with pavement markings, re-timing the traffic signals, and adding an all-red clearance interval (when you leave both sides red for a second or two while the signals are changing).
During the first 27 months of the four demonstration projects, crashes decreased by 47 percent with a 50 percent reduction in injuries.
Transportation Engineering Manager for AAA Michigan David Feber has stated, "Interestingly enough, we've seen red-light violations decrease by approximately 50 percent." He explains, "the larger signal heads are more visible, and we've placed them in more conspicuous places. What we're finding is that not all motorists are running red lights because they are so aggressive. Some are running the light because they're not paying attention."
Improving the timing of the amber phase also helped, "You have to decide to stop when you see the yellow," Feber says, "So there's an optimal length of the amber phase where people can make that decision safely. If it's too short or too long, you get more red light violators." Feber went on to say, "Some intersections are designed so motorists tend to violate the red -- we can reduce that through engineering rather than enforcement."
This reinforces a point that the NMA has made repeatedly. If intersections are properly designed, and signals are properly installed and timed, red light running is reduced to inconsequential levels. This is where state and local governments should be investing their resources, instead of installing cameras designed to further fleece motorists.
Source: AAA Foundation for Traffic Safety: Progress Report Volume 6, Number 6
You can download a copy of the AAA newsletter here. The article dealing with this project is on pages 3 and 4.
The NMA opposes the use of red light cameras and proposes engineering solutions as the real fix for intersections with high accident rates.