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Arizona Freeway Cameras Return Next Month
Scottsdale, Arizona city council will vote to turn the cameras back on as of February 22.

Professor Simon WashingtonScottsdale, Arizona's lucrative freeway cameras will return February 22 after a city council vote today. The program had used a set of six cameras on a 6.5 mile stretch of the Loop 101 freeway to issue 90,344 citations worth a minimum of $14,184,008 last year. Scottsdale turned off the cameras on October 23 while it paid $75,000 to Arizona State University Professor Simon Washington to produce a report showing benefits to the system.

The study documented a 54 percent increase in rear-end collisions and a 9 percent increase in injuries from rear-end collisions. But the study's author dismissed the effect saying, "Increases in rear-end crashes are traded for reductions in other crash types." Washington estimated the program created a net $11 million benefit from those claimed reductions.

The substantial profit from the program was split between the state, Australian camera operator Redflex and Scottsdale.The financial results were enough for Governor Janet Napolitano (D) last week to embrace the freeway camera concept. She announced an effort was underway to install the devices statewide.

In 2004, before the freeway project, Scottsdale cleared $1,265,000 in profit from its side-street speed cameras. Scottsdale had issued a total of 36,021 photo radar citations since January 1997, according to the city's financial statements. Just two years later, with the freeway program active, that profit more than doubled to $3,116,000.

The re-activated Loop 101 program is expected to issue an estimated 60,500 tickets by June 30. This would generate between $9 and $12 million in revenue.

Source: Scottsdale gears up possible return of cameras (East Valley Tribune (AZ), 1/30/2007)

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