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Directions in Highway Safety Cover - Summer 2011 Download Newsletter pdf
[2 MB, 12 pgs.]

Summer 2011 | Vol. 13 | No. 2

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Red-Light Cameras Shown to be Effective

A new Texas Transportation Institute - Center for Transportation Safety (TTI-CTS) study concludes that red-light cameras have helped reduce the number of crashes at intersections where they are installed. Although limited to Texas, the study is one of the most comprehensive to date in the United States.

Researchers looked at more than 11,000 crash records at 275 Texas intersections where cameras were in place. To determine the effectiveness of the cameras, they compared crash frequencies at intersections before and after installation of the cameras, looking at right angle, rear end and other crash types.

The published report, Evaluation of Photographic Traffic Signal Enforcement Systems in Texas, shows that red-light cameras reduced crashes at the intersections studied. Overall crash rates went down 11 percent, while red-light related crashes declined 25 percent. Notably, researchers found a 32 percent reduction in the most severe type of crash—rightangle (or “T-bone”) crashes.

Texas Transportation Institute - Center for Transportation Safety (TTI-CTS) logo

In addition to crash type, researchers looked at crash frequencies one, two, and three years after cameras were installed. The data showed 23 percent fewer crashes after one year of camera use. Crashes dropped 27 percent after two years, and 21 percent after three.

The study also compared whether crash rates varied depending on roadway type, looking at: business/primary roads, farm-to-market roads, interstate access roads, state highways and U.S. highways. All types of roadways saw similar reductions.

The study results were welcome news for David Kelly, President and Executive Director of the National Coalition for Safer Roads (NCSR) and former acting Administrator of the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA). According to Kelly, “We know that the increased use of red-light safety cameras is making drivers more aware of their behavior, reducing accidents and saving lives. If we want to continue to see these positive trends, not only in Texas, but nationwide, we must continue to utilize these lifesaving devices.”

Download a copy of the TTI-CTS report at