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I'm sure it's been asked before, but why so many cameras at intersections?

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Lady Effingbroke Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Fri Jun-02-06 01:54 PM
Original message
I'm sure it's been asked before, but why so many cameras at intersections?
The country seemed to function fine for years without them, now they're sprouting like weeds at every traffic light.

Are they "red light" cameras that will automatically issue a ticket to drivers who run a red light?

Is someone actually monitoring the cameras? If they see something they deem suspicious, do they alert the authorities?

I hate the intrusiveness of these things!
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donco6 Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Fri Jun-02-06 01:56 PM
Response to Original message
1. REVENUE.
That's it - in a word.
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jayfish Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Fri Jun-02-06 01:59 PM
Response to Reply #1
4. Missed It By That Much.
Exactly how I would have posted it. :hi:

Jay
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madinmaryland Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Fri Jun-02-06 01:59 PM
Original message
Definately REVENUE!!
My wife has gotten hit twice by them in Maryland. Not much you can do, when the camera shows your car going through a red light.
$75 each time.

:grr: :grr:

The pictures are actually very good quality.
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demosincebirth Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Fri Jun-02-06 02:37 PM
Response to Original message
21. She's lucky, in our city its $300, red light violation.
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OrangeCountyDemocrat Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Fri Jun-02-06 01:59 PM
Response to Reply #1
6. What He Said nt
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Lady Effingbroke Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Fri Jun-02-06 02:01 PM
Response to Reply #1
7. So they're red light cameras?
I thought those (automated red light cameras) were illegal in many places, unless there are people monitoring the cameras who alert the police that "such-and-such model car with XYZ license plate number just ran a red light".

It figures that revenue plays a large part in their sudden appearance.

As soon as a new traffic light is installed, here come the cameras!

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donco6 Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Fri Jun-02-06 02:04 PM
Response to Reply #7
9. Almost certainly.
We have them all over here in Denver, too. They snap your picture if you run the light (well, supposedly, anyway). Then they send the pic and a bill in the mail. No points on your record, but you have to pay the fine. They are EXPENSIVE! And you don't have to pay a cop to be there to write the ticket.
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MercutioATC Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Fri Jun-02-06 02:14 PM
Response to Reply #7
16. Either red light or speed...
Edited on Fri Jun-02-06 02:14 PM by MercutioATC
Here in Cleveland they were installed as red light cameras, but they've been catching speeders, too.
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woodsprite Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Fri Jun-02-06 01:58 PM
Response to Original message
2. In Delaware, I think the tapes of the redlight cameras are sent
to someplace in Connecticut or RI for evaluation, to deem if they're ticket-worthy.
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Critters2 Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Fri Jun-02-06 01:58 PM
Response to Original message
3. I assume they're red light cameras
and since I recently came close to be hit by a semi who shot through a red light, I really don't mind. I know, that makes me a bad progressive, but I'm afraid to die. At least, in a magled focus run over by a semi truck. So, take all the pictures you want!!
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jayfish Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Fri Jun-02-06 02:02 PM
Response to Reply #3
8. Intersection Cameras Are Actually Dangerous.
Edited on Fri Jun-02-06 02:06 PM by jayfish
http://www.thenewspaper.com/news/02/288.asp

Study: Cameras Increase Fatal Rear End Accidents (Ontario)
A December 2003 study sponsored by the Ontario, Canada government finds increase in accidents and fatal rear-end collisions from red light camera use.

Although three studies have shown a significant increase in rear-end collisions where red light cameras are used, cities using the devices are quick to dismiss such findings. Camera proponents maintain that such collisions are far less severe than angle collisions. This December 2003 study commissioned by Ontario, Canada's Ministry of Transportation shows that those rear-end collisions can be fatal. (Other studies drawing similar conclusions: Virginia, North Carolina, Australia.)




http://www.washingtonpost.com/wp-dyn/content/article/20...

The District's red-light cameras have generated more than 500,000 violations and $32 million in fines over the past six years. City officials credit them with making busy roads safer.

But a Washington Post analysis of crash statistics shows that the number of accidents has gone up at intersections with the cameras. The increase is the same or worse than at traffic signals without the devices.

Three outside traffic specialists independently reviewed the data and said they were surprised by the results. Their conclusion: The cameras do not appear to be making any difference in preventing injuries or collisions.

"The data are very clear," said Dick Raub, a traffic consultant and a former senior researcher at Northwestern University's Center for Public Safety. "They are not performing any better than intersections without cameras."


Jay


EDITED FOR ADDITIONAL INFORMATION
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Lady Effingbroke Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Fri Jun-02-06 05:55 PM
Response to Reply #8
37. Thanks for posting the articles, jayfish.
I agree that if drivers know that they will automatically be ticketed for running a red light, then they are much more likely to slam on their brakes and cause a collision.

This could be especially hazardous at intersections with mistimed signals; e.g. very short yellow lights.
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jayfish Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Fri Jun-02-06 10:58 PM
Response to Reply #37
40. The Short-Yellows Are A Part Of The Revenue...
generating process as well. They are also very dangerous.

Jay
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Lady Effingbroke Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Fri Jun-02-06 11:18 PM
Response to Reply #40
41. I completely agree that short-yellows are used to raise revenue.
Edited on Fri Jun-02-06 11:20 PM by Lady Effingbroke
There is a particular intersection in my town with an extremely short yellow light (I haven't timed it, but I would say the yellow light lasts less than 10 seconds).

The local police like to hang out at the intersection and hand out tickets like Halloween candy. I was ticketed there once a few years ago despite knowing of the mistimed light; I was driving a Civic and was directly behind an 18-wheeler and could not see the traffic signal to tell if it was still green or had changed to red (essentially no yellow, as I said).

It's kind of a damned if ya do, damned if ya don't situation - do you slam on your brakes and cause a collision (In my situation, because I could not see the traffic signal) or do you take your chances and risk getting a ticket?

Pure revenue enhancement!

Oh, and there is a local lawyer who will make you ticket go bye-bye for $150 - he gives the judge $50, keeps $100 for himself, and the ticket magically disappears.
I've had to resort to using him several times to keep my insurance low and my driving record clean. Ironically one of the times was for the short-yellow ticket I described above. The other two times were for being a pizza-delivery driver in a town where the speed limit is 20 mph in all of the neighborhoods (major thoroughfares excepted; those are 30-40 mph) and rigidly enforced; I was a very safe driver (4000 accident free hours during my pizza-driving career), but it is extremely difficult to drive exactly 20 mph when you are overly busy and shorthanded, which was pretty much every day. The whole town is pretty much a big school zone.

Driving really is a racket in this country, isn't it? The auto manufacturers advertise freedom, but what they are really selling is a ball and chain.
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dogman Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Fri Jun-02-06 11:27 PM
Response to Reply #41
43. The standard minimum of a yellow is 3 seconds.
The longest I have ever seen is 5 seconds for high speed traffic coming downhill.
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Lady Effingbroke Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Fri Jun-02-06 11:37 PM
Response to Reply #43
45. I agree that my estimate of 10 seconds for the yellow-light is long.
All I know is it is almost impossible to get one car through the intersection at 35 mph when the light is yellow.

Also the intersection is a bottleneck with 3 lanes becoming two, which causes traffic to back up and impatient drivers to force their way through the intersection, short yellow light be damned.

Needless to say, I avoid it like the plague if at all possible.
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hunter Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Fri Jun-02-06 01:59 PM
Response to Original message
5. Could, but mostly not.
The newer "smart" traffic light controllers actually watch the traffic to decide when to change the lights.

Computers are cheap, so it's easier to use a video camera now than it is to embed sensors in the street.

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Lady Effingbroke Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Fri Jun-02-06 02:04 PM
Response to Reply #5
10. Ah, so they can be used to change the lights?
I wonder if they can be adjusted for differing traffic patterns (rush hour, etc.).

I assume they can.
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hunter Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Fri Jun-02-06 02:44 PM
Response to Reply #10
23. Yes. These are different than the "red light" cameras.
I suppose you could hook them up in some sort of surveillance scheme, but mostly it's just a small video camera attached to the traffic light controller.

The traffic light controllers nowadays are smart enough to adapt to the changing traffic patterns they "see." The cameras also sense emergency vehicles, and will change the lights to clear the way for ambulances, fire trucks, and police cars when they have their flashing lights on.
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hootinholler Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Fri Jun-02-06 05:20 PM
Response to Reply #23
33. Actually it's an encoded strobe...
Turns the lights green in the direction the EV travels all other lights go red. Drains the traffic in front of ambulances like magic.

Now the real question is are they self-contained or do they feed a video signal somewhere centralized.

-Hoot
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LoKnLoD Donating Member (923 posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Fri Jun-02-06 02:06 PM
Response to Original message
11. They just added them on my route to work
I give them the bird every morning and afternoon. Sometimes I mix in Italian gestures. Immature I know, but got to amuse myself somehow in these depressing days.
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Lady Effingbroke Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Fri Jun-02-06 02:08 PM
Response to Reply #11
14. I've thought about making a sign that says "Howdy"
and holding it up to the cameras if I'm first in line at a red light.

Just to let "them" know that I realize I'm being watched.
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Deja Q Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Fri Jun-02-06 02:06 PM
Response to Original message
12. Do they determine if there's sufficient just cause to not get socked the $
Blatently running a red light is obvious; but there are some (albeit few) traffic situations where it'd be a worse thing not to run it. Particularly at the cusp between yellow and red.

I'm not advocating running red lights everywhere... but there can be a case for clemency.
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HiFructosePronSyrup Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Fri Jun-02-06 02:08 PM
Response to Original message
13. I assume they control the traffic lights.
I think they hide the ones that photograph red light runners.
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Lady Effingbroke Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Fri Jun-02-06 02:14 PM
Response to Reply #13
15. I didn't realize that cameras could be used to control traffic lights.
I thought it was still done by sensors in the pavement, although that method has its drawbacks; the most obvious being vehicles such as motorcycles that do not weigh enough to alert the sensor to change the light.
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HiFructosePronSyrup Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Fri Jun-02-06 02:17 PM
Response to Reply #15
17. They have both.
Another advantage of the camera is that they can see cars coming quite a ways down the rode.

I've seen them function perfectly out on deserted country highways, approaching an empty highway intersection at fifty miles per hour the camera sees me coming, stops the light on the normally busier highway and I get the green light just before I have to brake, and the light changes again just after I pass through.
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RebelOne Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Fri Jun-02-06 02:19 PM
Response to Original message
18. Yes, they are set up to photograph cars that go through red lights.
Edited on Fri Jun-02-06 02:20 PM by RebelOne
I was caught by one. They mailed me a photo of my car. I had to mail in a $70 fine. The only good thing is it doesn't go against your license.
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yurbud Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Fri Jun-02-06 02:30 PM
Response to Original message
19. cops are keeping a database of nose-pickers
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yellowcanine Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Fri Jun-02-06 02:44 PM
Response to Reply #19
22. and masturbaters
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yurbud Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Fri Jun-02-06 03:21 PM
Response to Reply #22
26. that's a long stop light
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yellowcanine Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Fri Jun-02-06 03:31 PM
Response to Reply #26
28. Depends on how fast you are. Or how good at driving with one hand.
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yurbud Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Fri Jun-02-06 04:53 PM
Response to Reply #28
30. you probably rear end a lot of people
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Igel Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Fri Jun-02-06 02:33 PM
Response to Original message
20. I'm fairly sure Los Angeles
had them when I was there in the '90s.

And the JFK highway's had them since I learned how to drive, for people that run the tollgate.
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OrangeCountyDemocrat Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Fri Jun-02-06 03:12 PM
Response to Original message
24. The New Red Light Cameras
There are new cameras in my area. They do not take pictures, but are actually live cameras, which send back video to someone at the main headquarters.

Those people then watch for red light runners, and then radio to a patrol car around the corner, who then swoops in and issues an instant ticket.

I don't know much beyond that, except they're much smaller than the "picture" cameras, and there are those in my county as well. These appear to attach at the top of each main light, and really blend in if you're not looking for them.
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obreaslan Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Fri Jun-02-06 03:20 PM
Response to Original message
25. "Oh what? Those? They're nothing, I mean...LOOK!...Another blond girl..."
She's missing!!!!!!!!!!"

Now, go on about your business.

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TX-RAT Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Fri Jun-02-06 03:30 PM
Response to Original message
27. Whats really disturbing.
Most of these are on contract and the city only gets a percentage. Private companies own and operate the cameras.
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Timmy5835 Donating Member (325 posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Fri Jun-02-06 03:33 PM
Response to Original message
29. Ignore the ticket
This is the biggest Ponzy sceme ever. The ticket is sent to you regular mail, ignore it. The City has no way of knowing if you got it or was lost in the mail. If you say you got the ticket they can nail you but other then that they have no way of knowing if you got it. Second, the tickets are sent out by private companies. Therefore their computers can't talk to the states computers. Third, A cop has to get you to sign a ticket for you to violate Falure to Appear. So If you get a red light camera ticket in the mail, throw it in the trash.
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nebenaube Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Fri Jun-02-06 05:11 PM
Response to Original message
31. red light? ha!
Edited on Fri Jun-02-06 05:14 PM by nebenaube
The cameras that were installed here in Eau Claire WI, are motion activated and are positioned to photograph the approach to the intersection (two directions in a four way). The cameras actually appear to be focused several yards ahead of the intersection and couldn't possibly be used to detect someone actually running a red light. One might conclude that the cameras serve no other purpose than to feed a facial recognition database and perhaps then forming social associations between the passengers in the vehicle...

--edited for grammer
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area51 Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Fri Jun-02-06 05:17 PM
Response to Reply #31
32. Welcome to DU, nebenaube. (n/t)
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area51 Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Fri Jun-02-06 05:38 PM
Response to Original message
34. red-light cameras in Houston
Here's a recent Houston Chronicle article about the red-light cameras in Houston.
"The red light vote ended more than a year of debate about whether the city should monitor Houston motorists and, if so, who should do it.

"The 8-6 (city council) vote clears the way for the contractor within 45 days to begin installing cameras, initially at 10 city intersections.

"The measure, awarding the contract to Arizona-based American Traffic Solutions Inc., had been delayed several times while another contractor vying for the deal raised concerns about the selection process.

"Critics have charged that the real intent is to raise city revenue through the civil penalties that would be assessed against violators caught on camera. Tickets issued by police officers still would be misdemeanor criminal violations."

There's already a hell of a lot more than 10 intersections that have had cameras put on them.


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Lady Effingbroke Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Fri Jun-02-06 05:47 PM
Response to Reply #34
36. Thanks, area51!
I live in the Houston area, and every time traffic lights are installed (or older signals replaced), cameras are installed, as well.

There are more than 10 intersections in my neighborhood that have had cameras recently added.

I don't know if the cameras are to control the signals or issue tickets to red-light runners, and I'm not gonna test them to find out!

Is there any way to tell what they are used for besides running a light and waiting for a ticket in the mail?
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RB TexLa Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Fri Jun-02-06 05:41 PM
Response to Original message
35. Do you hate the intrusiveness of drivers and pedestrians looking at

you while you are driving on a public street as well?
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Lady Effingbroke Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Fri Jun-02-06 05:59 PM
Response to Reply #35
38. Only if they stare for a considerable length of time!
Looking around to ensure safe driving is one thing, but actively staring at someone, especially with hostility, is a little too much for me.



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BlueStorm Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Fri Jun-02-06 06:10 PM
Response to Original message
39. They're all over my town...
and they do seem to be popping up everywhere. I kinda think that they might be good for the traffic and such as there are some crazy drivers around here.

Blue
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dogman Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Fri Jun-02-06 11:24 PM
Response to Original message
42. They make me money.
I maintain traffic signals for a living. The majority of cameras you see are used as traffic sensors to actuate the signals. Their use however is expanding and their capability to serve more functions exists. Red light runner setups generally require a different layout and some speed monitoring cameras are vehicle mounted. The detection cameras are usually mounted above the lane and face the oncoming traffic. There are cameras used to count traffic and classify vehicles for length and height. The modern systems connect to fiber optic cable and transmit pictures to command centers for what is known as intelligent traffic system. These incorporate PTZ (pan tilt zoom) cameras that can be adjusted remotely for surveillance. In the future information from these systems along with temperature and other info will be broadcast to drivers GPS systems to direct you around tie-ups. Some cities are using cameras for neighborhood surveillance that also include microphones that can triangulate the sound of gunfire to determine the location. Along with GPS, RFID, and cameras the days of big brother are well under way.
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Lady Effingbroke Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Fri Jun-02-06 11:44 PM
Response to Reply #42
46. Thank you for your very informative reply!
Cameras are at almost every intersection in my town, and I was wondering what their use was.

Thanks to the many informative replies on this thread, I now have a much better idea!
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aikoaiko Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Fri Jun-02-06 11:28 PM
Response to Original message
44. The local popo are taking one down here because it doesn't make $$$


That right. Apparently it costs several thousand dollars a month to lease, maintain, and run those things and this one intersection wasn't providing enough revenue to justify them so they are removing them.

-- Savannah GA.
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