Turner-Fairbank Highway Research Center

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Safety Evaluation of Red-Light Cameras

Product Type

Research Report


Council, F.M., B.N. Persaud, K.A. Eccles, C. Lyon, and M.S. Griffith




The objective of this final study was to determine the effectiveness of red-light-camera (RLC) systems in reducing crashes. The study used empirical Bayes before-and-after research using data from seven jurisdictions across the United States at 132 treatment sites. The purpose of the study was to estimate the crash and associated economic effects of RLC systems and specially derived rear end and right-angle unit crash costs for various severity levels. Crash effects detected were consistent in direction with those found in many previous studies: decreased right-angle crashes and increased rear end ones. The economic analysis examined the extent to which the increase in rear end crashes negates the benefits for right-angle crashes. The analysis showed an aggregate crash cost benefit of RLC systems. A disaggregate analysis found that the greatest economic benefits are associated with the highest total entering average annual daily traffic, the largest ratios of right-angle to rear end crashes, and with the presence of protected left turn phases. There were weak indications of a spillover effect that points to a need for a more definitive, perhaps prospective, study of this issue.

Link To Research Report

Safety Evaluation of Red-Light Cameras


red light cameras
empirical Bayes
crash evaluation
economic analysis
signalized intersection

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HSIS Summaries

HSIS Summary Reports are two to eight pages in length and include a brief description of the issue addressed, data used, methodology applied, significant results, and practical implications.

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Research Reports

A variety of research studies have been performed using data from HSIS. Many of the final reports prepared are now available electronically.

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Research reports are often summarized in executive summaries, technical briefs, or other abbreviated formats. Included here are those road safety summaries that involved research using HSIS data.

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