City Announces Progress in Red Light Camera Reform Efforts

November 13, 2015

Community Engagement Has Helped Shape Final Phase; Northwestern University to Participate in Red Light Camera Study

Mike Claffey     312.744.0707 |

Susan Hofer    312.742.2006 |

As part of its ongoing efforts to improve the Red Light Camera (RLC) program, the Chicago Department of Transportation announced today it has implemented additional reforms  originally approved by the City Council in May.  

First, CDOT has engaged a team of academic experts to examine ways to improve implementation of the RLC program and further improve traffic safety. Specifically, CDOT has partnered with Northwestern University Transportation Center (NUTC) to create a roadmap to build on previous reforms of the RLC program.

The University’s team includes an expert advisory panel of traffic safety experts from across the country. The scope includes performing a comprehensive assessment of existing practices, and benchmarking them against national best practices.  Using available safety data, the team will conduct rigorous analyses to assess the performance of the existing RLC enforcement practices, and understand the various underlying human factors that determine the effectiveness and impact of these programs. The team will be led by Dr. Hani Mahmassani, W. A. Patterson Distinguished Chair in Transportation. Dr. Mahmassani has over 32 years of experience as a transportation researcher, educator and professional.  The study is anticipated to take six months.  

Second, the reform ordinance also required CDOT officials to meet with communities before any red light camera systems are installed, removed, or relocated.  CDOT conducted meetings in communities across the city to discuss the removal of 50 RLCs at 25 intersections.  These 50 cameras were turned-off in March of this year.  

In two communities, concerns were expressed about dangers still facing pedestrians and motorists and community residents requested that the cameras be kept in place. Cameras at those two intersections will be re-activated on Monday, November 16th.  The two locations are at Touhy and Osceola and Cicero Avenue and the Stevenson Expressway.  CDOT will continue to monitor these locations going forward. 

At the 174 intersections that had red light cameras from 2005-2013, there were 95 fewer right angle crashes resulting in an injury or fatality, a decrease of 38 percent. Right angle crashes are the most dangerous type of crash.

Another key provision of the May 2015 ordinance required CDOT to install pedestrian countdown signals at every intersection with a RLC.  The countdown signals were installed before the June 1, 2015 deadline and feedback from both pedestrians and motorists has been extremely positive.  

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