This paper examined current red light camera technology, assessed system effectiveness, and outlined major issues associated with deployment. In addition to a review of the basic components of this technology (wet film/35-mm, and digital systems) general cost data was provided.
Most red light camera systems in operation today use wet film technology that requires exposed film to be retrieved, processed, developed, and converted into digital images daily. Digital cameras; however, allow more advanced high resolution imaging, and enable images to be stored and downloaded electronically. Although digital cameras are more expensive, the cost of these cameras is declining.
Automated red light camera systems consist of fixed costs (the costs of the equipment and installation) and variable costs (the cost associated with the back office ticket processes). Overall, the cost for implementing an automated red light enforcement system depends on the geometry of the intersection, and the number lanes/approaches monitored. System costs include the cost of the camera (approximately $50,000), in-pavement inductive loop detectors ($5K per leg), and costs associated with camera housings, poles, flash slaves, and wiring ($5,000 to $8,000). The City of San Francisco, California spent $80,000 per intersection which included installation of loops, wires, poles, and cameras, and the City of Jackson, Michigan spent $67,000 (1998 prices) per intersection for a system that included one wet film camera, housing, loop, pole, and installation. The variable costs are unique to each jurisdiction’s ticketing process and procedures, as well as agreement between the jurisdiction and contractor processing the violations.
Costs per intersection: $67,000 to $80,000