UT study looks at conflicts with red light camera funding

UT study looks at conflicts with red light camera funding

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Red light cameras are often paid for by the very tickets issued through the use of the cameras. Red light cameras are often paid for by the very tickets issued through the use of the cameras.
"You have a program that costs money to run privately-provided systems, and in order to pay for those systems you have to generate revenue," UT Associate Professor Chris Cherry said. "You have a program that costs money to run privately-provided systems, and in order to pay for those systems you have to generate revenue," UT Associate Professor Chris Cherry said.
The red light camera at Broadway and Adair is one of the nearly 20 red light cameras in Knoxville. The red light camera at Broadway and Adair is one of the nearly 20 red light cameras in Knoxville.
"Drivers definitely pay more attention to the lights and try not to block the intersections as much as they used to," said Ryan Schuler. "Drivers definitely pay more attention to the lights and try not to block the intersections as much as they used to," said Ryan Schuler.

By SAMANTHA MANNING
6 News Reporter

KNOXVILLE (WATE) - A University of Tennessee study takes a close look at how municipalities fund red light cameras and shows how the funding source may run against the goal of making roads safer.

Red light cameras are often paid for by the very tickets issued through the use of the cameras. If the cameras are successful in achieving the goal of fewer cars running red lights, less money is there to pay for the cameras.

"Traffic engineers are facing an ethical dilemma of balancing revenue generation to sustain their red light camera programs with their traffic safety and efficiency goals," UT professor Lee Han said.

"You have a program that costs money to run privately-provided systems, and in order to pay for those systems you have to generate revenue," UT Associate Professor Chris Cherry told 6 News.

The Knoxville Police Department says red light cameras in the city are paid for with the funds generated by the cameras.

Cherry said cities would be better off considering other resources for the funding, including allocating money for the cameras in the city budget, so that engineers do not face an ethical conflict.

"The most efficient and effective red light camera is one that does not ultimately pay for itself," Cherry said.

The red light camera at Broadway and Adair is one of the nearly 20 red light cameras in Knoxville. It was installed at the beginning of the year.

Ryan Schuler says the camera there is making a noticeable difference.

"Drivers definitely pay more attention to the lights and try not to block the intersections as much as they used to," said Schuler, who is an assistant manager at the Sherwin Williams Paint located near the camera at Broadway and Adair.

Schuler says during rush hour he often sees the camera flash as it captures cars running the red light.

"It's almost like a light show out there because you know it's flashing non-stop," Schuler said.

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