Six years after installation, the red light cameras at seven intersections in Tacoma, Wash., appear to have reduced the number and severity of accidents at each intersection. Despite the numbers, some still oppose the technology, seeing it simply as a way for the city to collect extra money.
The cameras were installed at seven “hot spots” throughout Tacoma in 2007. Traffic data from 2008 to 2012 shows that the safety benefits varied amongst intersections: The intersection of South 84th and Hosmer saw a 55% drop in accidents, while accidents decreased by 40% at South 72nd and Pacific.
On the other hand, accidents spiked at two monitored intersections in 2009. Accident totals have since, however, dropped below pre-camera levels.
The cameras also act as a source of revenue for the city, which some are against. Analysis shows, however, that the city may not actually make that much off the program. For example, in 2009, while the cameras generated $1.2 million in revenue, Tacoma only got $515,240 after expenses. At the same time, revenue has continued to drop year to year: In 2008, the city pulled in $1.6 million in gross revenue from the cameras; by 2012, revenue totaled just $942,105.
Arizona-based company Redflex operates the cameras on behalf of the city.