Incentives are everywhere

The introduction of automated cameras that ticket people who run a red light has given some cities a "clever" idea – let’s reduce the yellow-light period and increase ticket revenue.  Here’s one example from Dallas. 

An investigation by KDFW-TV, a local TV station, found that of the ten
cameras that issued the greatest number of tickets in the city, seven
were located at intersections where the yellow duration is shorter than
the bare minimum recommended by the Texas Department of Transportation
(TxDOT).

The city’s second highest revenue producing camera, for example, was
located at the intersection of Greenville Avenue and Mockingbird Lane.
It issued 9407 tickets worth $705,525 between January 1 and August 31,
2007. At the intersections on Greenville Avenue leading up to the
camera intersection, however, yellows are at least 3.5 or 4.0 seconds
in duration, but the ticket-producing intersection’s yellow stands at
just 3.15 seconds. That is 0.35 seconds shorter than TxDOT’s
recommended bare minimum.

More examples here and a hat tip to J-Walk Blog.

Comments

But if the article is correct, the cameras were installed at traffic signals that already had short yellow periods.

there's this one part, in office space, when michael bolton finds out that he's going to be fired. He refers to the people firing him (lumberg, et al.) as "---- gobblers."

That's all I have to say.

I live literally 5 minutes from that intersection. Greenville is a major nightlife area in Dallas, and the street fills up with cars from about 9 PM to about 2 AM. There have been a large number of wrecks and DUI-related incidents at that intersection, mostly because there is so much traffic people try to slip past even after the light turns red. But that light has always been bad, even before they installed the cameras. Is it probable that shorter yellow light times might lead to more people trying to run it? Yes. Are the shorter yellow light times a conspiracy on the part of cities to increase revenue? Very, very unlikely. Comeon! Is .35 seconds really significant?

Going 30MPH .35 seconds is about 15 feet.

There was a situation recently in Chattanooga where a ticketed motorist managed to prove in court that the yellow-light delay time for a camera he got a ticket from was 3 seconds rather than 4 seconds (which is the standard for other similar cameras). The judge threw out the ticket and ordered the city to refund the fines for all other motorists (176 in total) that had gotten ticketed by the same camera.

I also saw that a Tennessee senator plans to introduce a bill that explicitly requires that the timing of such traffic lights be established by the city engineer, not by someone else (treasurer??). I'm not sure if that bill would be very relevant, though...

Several cities are now removing the cameras due to increase accidents. A study by University of South Florida College of Public Health confirmed that red-light cameras significantly increase crashes and are a ticket to higher auto insurance premiums. More at: http://www.physorg.com/news124467295.html

In Spain, a Mayor ordered a survey.He asked if traffic light are giving orders or advices.Most people said : advices.He ordered to get rid of all traffic lights.They were to expensive to be giving advices

It may well be that the city intentionally set short yellows in order to raise ticket revenue, and/or intentionally concentrated red-light cameras at short-yellow intersections. However, the mere fact that the highest-revenue intersections are usually short-yellows is not evidence of that; even if the short yellows were set decades ago, and the cameras placed, much later, randomly, that is still what you would expect to see.

I've ocassionlly suspected that municipallities might tweak the timing of lights to induce people to speed and write more tickets.

I don't really think they do this, yet it would be so easy to time the damn lights properly. Why don't they?

Everything is decided by the market instead of any single human being’s personal feeling.
But opportunity and efforts are same important on the way to yr goal.
Like the aion gold performance in the market.

Regardless, I question the morality of those that want to raise taxes to pay for more compassion like this. The reason why these people are immoral is that they do not want to raise THEIR taxes to pay for this compassion, but rather the other persons. That such behavior is not even called into question is just a sign of the times.

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