SacCity red light cameras and crashes

A follow on to red-light-running bullies. I’ve created a map that shows the eleven right light camera (automated enforcement) locations under the City of Sacramento’s Red Light Running Program. The city has 907 signalized intersections. These locations are (listed alphabetically by the intersection entry in the Traffic Signals GIS layer):

  • 16th Street & W Street X
  • 21st Street  & Broadway X
  • 5th Street & I Street X
  • Alhambra Boulevard & J Street
  • Arden Way & Challenge Way X
  • Arden & Exposition Boulevard & Ethan Way X
  • El Camino Avenue & Evergreen Street X
  • Fair Oaks Boulevard & Howe Avenue X
  • Folsom Boulevard & Howe Avenue/Power Inn Road X
  • Mack Road & Center Parkway X
  • Mack Road & La Mancha Way/Valley Hi Drive X

The map (pdf) shows each location, with the red signal icon, and a heat map of the crash severity for crashes occurring at intersections. Yellow means high collision severity, with severity being a weighting of the individual types [1 – Fatal; 2 – Injury (Severe); 3 – Injury (Other Visible); 4 – Injury (Complaint of Pain)]. But it does show the pattern, and you can clearly see the intersections along arterial roadways, where most crashes occur. The crashes are not necessarily red light running crashes. There is a PCF Violation category (VIOLCAT) 12 – Traffic Signals and Signs, and another Intersection (INTERSECT_), but that would not distinguish red light running from stop sign running. It might take looking at individual incident reports, but that is beyond my capacity.

There are certainly high crash severity locations in the city that are beyond the map coverage area, and there are plenty of locations without cameras.

It would be interesting to know if these red light camera locations have a lower rate of red light running crashes that comparable intersections without cameras, but that will require quite a bit more thinking an analysis.

Continue reading “SacCity red light cameras and crashes”

Sac Vision Zero intersections & red light cameras

I’ve written previously about Vision Zero high injury intersections in the City of Sacramento: Sac Vision Zero new intersections map, Sac Vision Zero top intersections all modes, Sac Vision Zero top ped intersections, Sac Vision Zero Top 5 Corridors and top intersections, and Sac Vision Zero flaws.

The City of Sacramento has red light cameras at the following locations:

  • Mack Road & La Mancha Way/Valley Hi Drive
  • El Camino Avenue & Evergreen Street
  • Howe Avenue & Fair Oaks Boulevard
  • Mack Road & Center Parkway
  • Exposition Boulevard & Ethan Way
  • Broadway & 21st Street
  • Folsom Boulevard & Howe Avenue/Power Inn Road
  • Arden Way & Challenge Way
  • 5th Street & I Street
  • 16th Street & W Street
  • Alhambra Boulevard & J Street

The top injury intersections are:

  • Stockton Blvd & Broadway
  • Stockton Blvd & Lemon Hill Ave
  • Stockton Blvd & 47th Ave & Elder Creek Rd
  • Watt Ave & Auburn Blvd
  • Del Paso Blvd & Evergreen St & Lampasas Ave
  • Julliard Dr & Kiefer Blvd & Folsom Blvd
  • Power Inn Rd & Fruitridge Rd
  • Freeport Blvd & Florin Rd
  • Center Pkwy & Cosumnes River Blvd
  • Bruceville Rd & Cosumnes River Blvd
  • Franklin Blvd & Mack Rd

Notice there is no overlap. One could optimistically say that the presence of red light cameras may be making drivers safer and reducing the crashes at these locations. But I doubt it. More likely, the city is just not prioritizing high injury intersections. Of course high injury intersections change over time, as traffic patterns change, and as the city redesigns intersections to be safer, so red light camera locations need not remain static.

I ask that the city install red light cameras at all the high injury intersections. I am not asking that the city move the existing cameras to the new locations. If someone thought a red light camera was necessary at an intersection, it probably still is, and should continue unless evidence indicates otherwise.

A lot of driver-apologists claim that red light cameras are not fair, that they are installed mostly to gain ticket revenue, and that they aren’t accurate anyway. Yes, some places have installed cameras for funding, but Sacramento is not one of them. Yes, sometimes the camera systems flag a vehicle that is not running a red light, but the photos are reviewed. Even if the city were making $1M a day on red light cameras, that would be just fine with me if it prevents one death. I value life more highly than do many drivers.

I worked in Citrus Heights for several years, which has a much higher percentage of traffic signals complemented by red light cameras. My perception is that it really did make a difference. I saw very little red light running in Citrus Heights. Other violations, sure, but not red light running.

photo from City of Sacramento Red Light Running Program page