Red Light Cameras Coming Soon To Round Rock - Do They Work & Are They Worth It?

Posted in Commentary, Privatization, Road Issues, Round Rock, Williamson County at 12:35 pm by wcnews

The RRL has the story, Red-light camera system still in works.

The city of Round Rock is still in the process of getting its red-light cameras in place after unanimously approving their use in September.

Assistant Police Chief Tim Ryle - who initially hoped to have the program up and running by the first of the year - said the city is still working on selecting a vendor to implement the program.

“We haven’t quite gotten there yet,” Ryle said. “We are hoping to award a contract during a city council meeting this month.

To get “up to speed” on this issue EOW recommends reading this Off The Kuff post from November, Do Red Light Cameras Work? It’s an interesting post with a link to HChron blog that has links to a bunch of studies and the comments are worth reading too.

Every few weeks, I receive calls from a man named Greg Mauz, a crusader against traffic cameras from Christoval, Texas. On his website, Mauz presents his arguments against red-light cameras.

Mauz wrote to me that red-light cameras are “entrapment for profit,” allowing governments to rake in ticket revenue while handing over a cut to the companies that install and maintain the cameras. Mauz and other critics also have constitutional and privacy objections.

Most provocatively, Mauz argues that red-light cameras make intersections more dangerous and cause more crashes.

I looked at some of Mauz’s papers and found his logic to be, at times, flawed. For instance, he adds together two percentages (on two different types of crashes) to make a new percentage to “prove” his point that the cameras increase crashes. But that’s an incorrect use of mathematics.

The city’s position — as articulated in its defense in a recent lawsuit — is that the cameras are effective and legal. They make driving more safe.

A couple of recurring themes as one commenter points out are:

It appears the results are fairly uniform across the spectrum, a 25% decrease in T-Bones and a 10% to 15% increase in rear end collisions. Whether we like it or not, it’s going to happen, the driving public has no say so in the matter and what we are gradually moving toward is “virtual” policing. If you search a bit on the Austin paper you should find an article about new sensors being installed on I-35 which are being tested to monitor size, weight and type of vehicle but which will morph into speed sensing equipment and vehicle identification.

My hope for the RLC placement in the COH (City of Houston) is that it will be limited to pretty much places I don’t go and that brings up a question you might want to research, i.e., does the installation of the cameras cause a decrease in the number of vehicles traversing those intersections? I’d bet they do and that they have a suppressive effect on volume. Why? Because I’ve talked to a number of people at my office who have carefully noted the locations of the cameras and avoid those interesections as much as possible. And it is possible today because most of us don’t actually “live” in Houston, we live in County, the Woodlands, or Katy so we only commute into and out of the City.

Less of the “more severe” t-bone crashes but an increase in the “less severe” rear-end crashes. And of course avoidance of the monitored intersections may be the greatest cause of fewer accidents at these intersections. If it’s saving lives and money it’s worth it, right? Or is it just transferring the traffic and the red light running to different intersections?

Whatever the case is they’re definitely coming to Round Rock, it appears to be just a matter of time. Here are a few other parts that go long with the cameras: 50% of the money will go into a regional trauma account, there must be sign at the intersection informing drivers it’s being monitored, and there will be annual reviews. Again from the RRL:

Following the administrative costs of implementing and maintaining the system, 50 percent of the fine will be placed in a regional trauma account and the other half will go toward improving intersection safety as designated by Senate Bill 125.


In addition to the system of cameras the city will also place signs alerting motorists to the presence of a red-light camera at least 100 feet in advance of the intersection as required by House Bill 1052, which invalidates any ticket received without such warning.

SB 1119 also requires local authorities to monitor and annually report the number and type of traffic accidents at red-light camera intersections to determine whether the system results in a reduction in accidents or in the severity of accidents.

On other note. As I watched KEYE report on this last night the reporter said this:

Police say the intersection at Louis Henna and Greenlawn is the most dangerous in the city. One day officers counted 103 red light runners in just 12 minutes.

Id the reason that this intersection is the most dangerous because of the gridlock that’s been created there by the new toll road? Is running this light, which makes it the most dangerous in town, an unintended consequence of a plan intended to frustrate drivers so much that they want to take the toll road instead? Just something to think about.

What do you think?

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