2/25/2013Pennsylvania: Red Light Camera Accidents Increase in Philadelphia
Ten years of accident data show accidents increase at Philadelphia, Pennsylvania red light camera intersections.
Philadelphia, Pennsylvania deputized American Traffic Solutions (ATS, formerly Mulvihill) in 2005, granting the Arizona-based for-profit firm authority to issue traffic tickets at intersections on the city's behalf. The red light camera program's current logo includes a spy camera bearing the motto "Slow down and smile. We're keeping tabs so we can keep you safe." Ten years' worth of data provided by the Pennsylvania Department of Transportation show traffic has become less safe as accidents increased at the first two intersections to use photo enforcement.
The camera at Grant Avenue and Roosevelt Boulevard came online in June 2005, issuing 41,951 tickets worth $4,195,100 through April 2012. At Red Lion and Roosevelt Boulevard, the cameras began ticketing in September 2005, issuing 28,506 tickets worth $2,850,600. Despite the $7,045,700 in combined tickets (through April 2012), accidents and injuries are on the rise.
In the five years before cameras were installed (2000 to 2004), there were 138 accidents at the Grant Avenue location. In the five years after the camera were turned on (2007 to 2011), the number increased 15 percent to 159 collisions. Camera proponents often dismiss rising accident figures by claiming the jump only reflects an increase in minor fender benders. The data show otherwise, with a 27 percent increase in the number of collisions involving an injury (103 in the before period compared to 131 in the after period). Angle collisions did not decrease as promised.
The results were nearly identical at the Red Lion Road location where accidents increased 18 percent from 82 to 100 once cameras were operational. In the before period, 56 collisions involved an injury, a figure which grew to 80 in the after period. Again, cameras did not reduce angle collisions, as the photo enforcement proponents promised they would.
Officials in Philadelphia spent $22,500 last year hiring the firm Ceisler Jubelirer LLC to lobby lawmakers and the media in the hopes of convincing them the red light camera program has been effective. The state initially refused to release reports on the performance of the red light camera system, going so far as to outlaw the sharing of such information with the public by statute (view law).
A copy of the accident report data is available in a 400k PDF file at the source link below.