Have Red Light Speed Cameras Saved Lives in Virginia?

Today on the Streetsblog Network, we’ve got a post from The WashCycle about speeding, new red light cameras and a reduction in fatalities in Montgomery County, VA. Police there report that "a 2008 study of 11 camera locations found a 25 percent reduction in crashes on the roads where the speed cameras were located."
Deaths have gone to 9 from 19 over a the same period last year. While
the WashCycle cautions against reading too much into a relatively small
amount of data, they also say the cameras have likely been effective.
They also report on some novel citizen objections to the technology:

136414178_b9bb1f3508_m.jpgPhoto by Michael Patrick via Flickr.

It is reasonable to assume that the cameras should get some credit — if not the lion’s share. As Prof. Steven Dutch
puts it, "Correlation doesn’t prove causation when there is no
plausible link between two phenomena, or when there is some more
plausible cause. But if there is a plausible link, then correlation is very strong evidence for causation."

I’ve
heard several arguments against speed cameras; such as privacy issues,
not being able to face your accuser, manipulation of the data or
circumstances to increase violations and, thus, revenue. But this is a
new one:

"’I am against the speed cameras. No. 1, I don’t
think they pick up one of the major hazards on our roadways in
Montgomery County right now — bicyclists,’ resident Reardon Sullivan
told the Montgomery County Council."

Really? Bicyclists? Not drunk drivers?
Not inattentive drivers? Especially since we’re talking about speed
cameras (not red light cameras) — and it is very difficult for
cyclists to speed.

More from around the network: The National Journal asks the experts what difference an 18-month delay in the transpo bill would actually make; World Streets talks about scientific methods for reducing driving; and The Overhead Wire looks at transit-oriented development in a down economy.

ALSO ON STREETSBLOG

In Defense of Red Light Cameras

|
Last week the Los Angeles Police Commission, the citizen panel that oversees the LAPD, unanimously voted to reject the LAPD’s recommendation to extend the city’s contract with an Arizona based group that provides, maintains, and utilizes “red light cameras” at 32 Los Angeles intersections.  The move came as a shock to the LAPD, but has […]

Cardenas, Parks Want Red Light Cameras to Remain

|
A new motion introduced by Councilmen Tony Cardenas and Bernard Parks seeks to overturn the recent decision of the Police Commission to end the city’s wildly effective red light traffic camera program.  Their motion is scheduled to be heard at tomorrow morning’s City Council hearing.  The Councilmen claim that they can force the Police Commission […]

City Council Delays Vote on Red Light Camera Until Tuesday

|
After a parade of public speakers rose to speak on whether or not the L.A. City Council should overrule the Police Commission and not allow Los Angeles’ red light cameras to come down, Councilman Tony Cardenas motioned to delay the final vote until Tuesday so that more City Council Members could be present.  At the […]

Mountains Recreation & Conservation Authority Responds to LAT Article on Stop Sign Cameras

|
On Monday, the Los Angeles Times printed an eye-rolling article about the use of stop sign cameras to enforce safe street laws in the state parks surrounding the Santa Monica Mountains.  In response, the Mountains Recreation & Conservation Authority’s executive director, Joseph T. Edmiston wrote the following letter to the staff and board of the Authority.  It’s […]