Albuquerque, NM, USA 2010 RLC Study

Official Title: City of Albuquerque Red Light Camera Study Final Report

Author: Paul Guerin Ph.D.

This is a 2010 study by the Institute for Social Research at the University of New Mexico on the effects of red-light and speed cameras in the city of Albuquerque, New Mexico. This study compares the before and after crash statistics of 20 RLC intersections in that city. The study uses 57 to 87 months of pre-RLC crash data compared to 20 to 50 months of post-RLC data. The statistics used in this analysis are from the Albuquerque Police Department and additional citizen reports of automobile crashes and the study uses no defined Distance-From-Intersection inclusion zone for crashes. This study excludes all data on crashes having an estimated damage of less than $500. This study also excludes all alcohol-related crashes from its data. This study uses 38 non-RLC intersections as control intersections. There are no data or conclusions in this report that suggest a reduction or increase in fatalities due to RLCs. The results show that total crashes at RLC-equipped intersections have increased by 1% after RLCs were installed while crashes at non-RLC intersections have decreased over 9%. Injury crashes decreased at RLC intersections during the study period, but they decreased 11% more at non-RLC intersections than they did at RLC intersections. The study also does a cost analysis on the crashes at the RLC intersections, and concludes that : "The primary finding of a moderate net cost benefit supports the continued use of RLCs in Albuquerque."

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This is a detailed 74 page study, the data is not standardized as well as most other studies, due to the inclusion of citizen reported crashes and having no standardized way of reporting crashes(including no Distance-from-intersection crash inclusion zone). The exclusion of alcohol-related crashes is something that we cannot find any record of in any other study like this and somewhat diminishes the results. They give a reason for the exclusion, but provide no data to back up their assertion: "These crashes were removed because they would have occurred regardless of the existence of the RLC system". Also, the exclusion of all crashes costing less than $500 is not something that other studies do and that somewhat diminishes the results. Yet another diminishing factor is that these RLC cameras also issued speeding tickets during the course of study period, which is something that is very rare to include in these kind of studies. The selection of 20 RLC intersections is an above-average number of intersections for this kind of study. The before-RLC period is very long and the after-RLC period is above average for this kind of study. The conclusions ignore the 10% differential increase in crashes at RLC intersections as compared to non-RLC intersections, and while the conclusion of moderate reduction in crash costs at RLC intersections is supported by the data, they made no attempt to calculate or show the change in crash costs for the non-RLC control intersections, which would have been the proper thing to do to validate their conclusions.

St Pete Driver,
Dec 23, 2012, 5:30 AM