Have Red Light Speed Cameras Saved Lives in Virginia?

Today on the Streetsblog Network, we’ve got a post from The WashCycle about speeding, new red light cameras and a reduction in fatalities in Montgomery County, VA. Police there report that "a 2008 study of 11 camera locations found a 25 percent reduction in crashes on the roads where the speed cameras were located."
Deaths have gone to 9 from 19 over a the same period last year. While
the WashCycle cautions against reading too much into a relatively small
amount of data, they also say the cameras have likely been effective.
They also report on some novel citizen objections to the technology:

136414178_b9bb1f3508_m.jpgPhoto by Michael Patrick via Flickr.

It is reasonable to assume that the cameras should get some credit — if not the lion’s share. As Prof. Steven Dutch
puts it, "Correlation doesn’t prove causation when there is no
plausible link between two phenomena, or when there is some more
plausible cause. But if there is a plausible link, then correlation is very strong evidence for causation."

I’ve
heard several arguments against speed cameras; such as privacy issues,
not being able to face your accuser, manipulation of the data or
circumstances to increase violations and, thus, revenue. But this is a
new one:

"’I am against the speed cameras. No. 1, I don’t
think they pick up one of the major hazards on our roadways in
Montgomery County right now — bicyclists,’ resident Reardon Sullivan
told the Montgomery County Council."

Really? Bicyclists? Not drunk drivers?
Not inattentive drivers? Especially since we’re talking about speed
cameras (not red light cameras) — and it is very difficult for
cyclists to speed.

More from around the network: The National Journal asks the experts what difference an 18-month delay in the transpo bill would actually make; World Streets talks about scientific methods for reducing driving; and The Overhead Wire looks at transit-oriented development in a down economy.

ALSO ON STREETSBLOG

STREETSBLOG USA

Vox Pulls Back the Curtain on “Scam” to Save Lives With Red Light Cameras

|
You can usually count on Vox for accurate, research-based explainers of public policy issues. That’s why the new Vox video on red light cameras is so monumentally disappointing. Researchers have established that red light cameras make streets safer by reducing potentially fatal T-bone collisions, though they do lead to more rear-end crashes, which tend not to be very serious. […]

SFMTA to Push for Speed Camera Enforcement Through State Legislation

|
The SFMTA wants to legalize life-saving speed enforcement cameras, and plans to campaign for a state law that would enable San Francisco to install them, the agency’s director of government affairs, Kate Breen, said today. California currently has no law to allow and regulate the use of speed enforcement cameras, though red-light enforcement cameras are allowed. Speed cameras […]

Menlo Park Expands Red Light Photo Enforcement Program

|
Last week, the Menlo Park City Council voted to extend its red light photo enforcement program for an additional five years and add a fifth red light camera at the intersection of Bayfront Expressway and Chilco Street, where 20 collisions have resulted in 14 injuries and one fatality since 2008. A temporary test camera installed […]