Official Title: EVALUATION OF THE RED LIGHT CAMERA ENFORCEMENT PILOT PROJECT
Authors: Synectics Transportation Consultants Inc.
This is a 2003 study by Synectics Transportation Consultants Inc. for the Ontario Ministry of Transportation on the effects of red-light cameras and other red light treatments in the city of Toronto and a few surrounding communities in Ontario in Canada. This study compares the before and after crash statistics of 19 RLC intersections in that city. The study uses 60 months of pre-RLC crash data compared to 24 months of post-RLC data. The statistics used in this analysis are from the Ontario Ministry of Transportation which does not define their Distance-From-Intersection inclusion zone for crashes. The study does use 12 control intersections to help validate the study. There is no specific data in this report that suggests a reduction or increase in fatalities due to RLCs, although they do make the statement that red light treatments "reduced the number of severe collisions from occurring thereby saving lives", but when RLCs specifically are analyzed, they show a 2% increase in injury and fatal crashes. The results show that crashes as a whole at RLC-equipped intersections have increased by 16% over the study period. The study concludes that for all attempted red light treatments taken as a whole(not just RLCs): "the pilot project has been shown to be a valid safety program for the province of Ontario, having achieved the objective of reducing fatal and injury collisions."
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This is a very detailed 111 page study, the data and statistical analysis appear valid. The selection of 19 RLC intersections is slightly above-average number of intersections for this kind of study. Not defining the Distance-From-Intersection inclusion zone for crashes slightly diminishes the validity of the data. The before and after RLC date periods are sequential and adequate to provide a valid data set for comparison. There is a comparison of crashes at several control intersections in the same cities over the study period. Most of the conclusions of this study are supported by the data supplied, although the claim that RLCs specifically save lives is not supported at all by specific fatality-only data, and it is stated that injury and fatal crashes at RLC intersections actually went up 2%, and the control intersections during the same time period saw a 13% decrease in injury and fatal crashes.
It is very important to note that RLCs are less than half of the "red light treatments" mentioned in this study. The majority of red light treatment intersections use only increased police presence with no RLCs involved. The RLC intersections show an increase in all types of crashes.