If you're thinking that the red-light camera at the intersection of Bloomingdale Avenue and Bell Shoals Road is more of a hindrance than a help, you might want to check out American Traffic Solutions' cost-benefit analysis website.
American Traffic Solutions commissioned John Dunham and Associates, an economic research firm specializing in economic and fiscal impact studies, to analyze the use of red-light safety camera at dangerous intersections.
The firm concluded that cities and counties using the cameras save thousands of dollars each year.
Specifically, the study showed that Hillsborough County saved $175,604 in 2011 with its red-light camera at Bell Shoals and Bloomingdale and will save another $166,847 by the end of 2012. By 2015, that red-light camera will have saved the county a total of $795,337.
The savings are realized by the decrease in crashes and the ability to redeploy sheriff's deputies from monitoring dangerous intersections to other crime-fighting efforts, according to American Traffic Solutions, which has installed more than 3,000 red-light and speed safety cameras throughout the country.
The researchers calculated the estimated cost savings to a community from the deployment of one red-light safety camera at one busy intersection in 25,000 cities and towns in all 50 states and the District of Columbia. Revenues resulting from citations paid by red-light runners were not factored into the study’s calculations.
According to John Dunham and Associates, red-light safety cameras help reduce crashes. And by reducing crashes, the cameras contribute an economic benefit to the community.
“The measurable costs of crashes, which have been calculated by the U.S. Department of Transportation, are immense and impact everyone. These costs include medical, emergency services, property damage, lost productivity, the monetized value of pain and suffering, lost quality of life, travel delays, insurance administration and legal and court costs,” said John Dunham, managing partner of the firm.
The savings varied from city to city due to the variety of factors that were included in the methodology. For instance, the analysis shows a savings in Hazelwood, Mo., of $163,036 from one red-light safety camera in the first year of operation and a cumulative savings of $728,952 over five years. In St. Petersburg, the savings in the first year was $187,440 and $846,849 over five years.
“It’s indisputable that there is a cost associated with automobile crashes,” said James Tuton, president and CEO of ATS. “This study finally provides us with the measurable economic benefits a city can realize by using even one red-light safety camera to decrease crashes in their community. However, the greatest benefit any community can achieve through road safety camera programs is saving people’s lives.”
In the United States, an average of 885 people died and another 165,000 were injured in red-light running collisions each year from 2000 to 2009.
The Federal Highway Administration research estimates the cost of a fatal car crash to be between $5 million and $5.4 million. Injury-related traffic crashes are estimated to cost $500,000 to $540,000 and property damage-only crashes are estimated to cost from $25,000 and $28,000.
These figures were confirmed in a more recent study conducted for the AAA, which found that a fatal car crash costs a community about $6 million. These estimates include medical, insurance, legal and emergency service costs, as well as lost work productivity and travel delays.