In Dallas, the report released Aug. 1 found a 38 percent drop in red-light crashes at intersections where cameras had been up and running for two years. Lufkin saw a 24 percent drop, and red-light accidents in El Paso fell 25 percent at intersections that had cameras installed for at least three years. But not all cities were down. In Corpus Christi, the study found there were eight more red-light crashes in the two years after the city installed traffic cameras at those intersections than the two years prior.
The Texas Transportation Institute, a research arm of the Texas A&M University System, analyzed the crash figures at the request of lawmakers who asked state transportation leaders to compile the data. Researchers looked at crash data from about 275 intersections in Texas, both before and after red-light cameras were installed. The study identified more than 15,000 crashes through 2009 in a state transportation database. Walden called it the most comprehensive red-light camera study in Texas to date.
Robert Stein, a political science professor at Rice University who has studied Houston’s red-light cameras, said fewer intersection crashes follows a general decline in accidents on U.S. roadways. He said more cars with anti-lock brakes, older cars gradually being taken off the road and the recession causing more out-of-work Americans to drive less may all factor into lower accident numbers, along with red-light cameras.
Last month, a federal judge ruled that the results of the November red-light camera measure were invalid because it violated the city charter covering the timing for repeal of an ordinance.