Crashes Decrease at Rio Intersection, Say Police

Albemarle County police say that their data show that the number of crashes at the intersection of Rio and 29 decreased after the installation of red light cameras last year, Dave McNair reports for The Hook. Initial data demonstrated that crashes had increased at the intersection—and they have—but police say that those numbers include lanes that are not monitored by red light cameras. The decline that their more specific data demonstrate is from fourteen to nine during the same periods in two consecutive years, the former without cameras, the latter with. Between December and July, a stunning 7,638 tickets were generated by the cameras, though an equally stunning 42% of those were found to be invalid.

Raise your hand if you knew that not all directions of that intersection are on camera. That’s news to me.

8 Responses to “Crashes Decrease at Rio Intersection, Say Police”


  • What is the point of the red light camera: to generate income (issue tickets) or to increase safety (prevent accidents)?

    The County apparently pays $10,000 a month to a foreign company to operate the system. That’s $120,000 a year, enough to put another 2 cops on the street. If the County truly wants to “change dangerous driver behavior– not ticket a bunch of drivers for illegal behavior” get rid of the cameras, save $10,000 a month, and put a few new cops on the street. Sit them at the intersection.

    Of course they claim the cameras generate $22,000 a month in revenues, I’d like the know where that’s going. Show me the money!

    If we want to generate revenue, keep it up. But I don’t think that should ever be the goal of traffic enforcement.

  • I did know that, actually, and still don’t understand why. If you are going to monitor an intersection, why not do all directions? Cost-saving doesn’t seem right as the County ain’t paying the cost to install the cameras in the first place.

  • Data-mining. I am 100% sure that whatever behavioral effects result from red-light cameras extend to drivers in all lanes of the intersection.

  • I still believe it’s too early to say anything about crash prevention. It’s also a little silly to measure the change on one intersection. The safety benefits are the result of encouraging good driving habits overall. If you assume you’re being monitored through intersections, you’ll be more careful for all of them. Eventually, you won’t even think about the cameras and you’ll instinctively stop at red lights.

    I don’t know why Evan is asking for a choice between revenue generation and safety. If the cameras give both, can’t we call that a win-win?

  • A fairly quick glance at the cameras and angles would give a pretty clear impression that they would have a LOT of trouble covering everything….

  • Evan S. said:

    “The County apparently pays $10,000 a month to a foreign company to operate the system. That’s $120,000 a year, enough to put another 2 cops on the street. If the County truly wants to “change dangerous driver behavior– not ticket a bunch of drivers for illegal behavior” get rid of the cameras, save $10,000 a month, and put a few new cops on the street. Sit them at the intersection.”

    Your logic doesn’t work. The Australian company (RedFlex) gets the first $10,000 of revenue generated by the cameras every month. Albemarle County does not pay anything for the cameras, instead they dedicate the initial revenue and keep any additional revenue. Getting rid of the cameras won’t save anything. In fact, it would eliminate the $155,440 the County gained in seven months on top of the $66,360 sent to RedFlex. Now that $155,440 is real money that could be used to hire more cops.

  • The reason they don’t monitor all directions is tied to the state law authorizing the pilot test. When it was first announced it was explained that the accident rates for some of the approaches to the intersection weren’t high enough to meet the requirements of the law.

    The legislature has been divided on this issue for years, the authorization reflects compromises.

  • This feels like moving the goal posts and declaring a win. Like Waldo, I had no idea that some lanes aren’t monitored. If I did, I wouldn’t glance up and decide to run or not run the light based on the angle of the camera. The entire intersection is, as far as I and doubtless many other drivers are concerned, monitored. I think all data from the intersection needs to be considered when assessing the impact of the cameras.

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