How to make red-light enforcement work


Following our recent report in the October/November issue Traffic Technology International magazine entitled Justice at the lights, which explored the many challenges facing road authorities in implementing red-light enforcement schemes, Richard Talbott (left) of StarTraq gives his opinion on how such systems can be made to work more effectively…

Data transparency is key to restoring public trust and confidence in automated traffic enforcement programs. It is necessary to provide watertight evidence that red-light cameras are being used fairly and without discrimination. To address these concerns it is necessary to accurately audit the data pertaining to a camera captured violation e.g. date, time, location, red time, amber time, lane and speed.

Police and city authorities should employ a third party independent auditing company to provide real-time management information in the form of an interactive dashboard e.g. anomalous yellow time readings or violation spikes at a location. The auditing software should also be able to send automatic alerts to management and field operators e.g. alerting them to an incorrect camera set up.

In short, the auditing tool should be able to review all the traffic violations that have been accepted or rejected by the camera vendor and ensure that only valid citations are sent to the offender.

The need for independent auditing is supported in a recent white paper from the International Road Federation about Public Private Partnerships (PPP) in Traffic Enforcement. One of the key messages is that an independent private party should be hired to monitor and audit the enforcement program. (section 6 of the introduction on page 4).

Real-time auditing and assurance software solutions can allow a user to access details about any violation and illustrate trends to clearly show where a camera or location is not performing within normal parameters. Winter Park Police in Florida have recently gone live with such a system (screenshot above) which is giving them confidence that citations are only issued in the case of valid traffic violations.

Richard Talbott represents software solutions provider StarTraq

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