FIXED RED LIGHT AND SPEED CAMERAS IN CANBERRA: EVALUATING A NEW DIGITAL TECHNOLOGY
Excessive travel speeds and running of red lights is the source of many traffic crashes in urban areas. The ACT Government introduced fixed digital speed and red light cameras at three locations in Canberra in early 2001. The cameras were unique to Australia at the time, applying digital technology to a combined speed and red light camera. A study to examine the effectiveness of these devices in reducing speeding and accidents was commissioned in early 2001. The study investigates the ?before and after? situation, using three corresponding control sites. This paper briefly outlines the technical and operational advantages of the new technology and then covers the evaluation of the first three camera sites. A community survey that compared attitudes to red light and speed cameras with other road safety measures was also conducted.
Results to date show that the rate of speeding has significantly reduced at two sites, but there were mixed results at the third location ? where speeds in excess of double the speed limit are regularly recorded. Crash record changes at the trial sites to date, have not been significant for Right Angle (RUM type 2) and Right Turn Into Opposite (RUM type 1) crashes. Rear end crashes (RUM type 3) have increased as expected. However, these crash analyses must be treated with considerable caution, given the very limited number of crashes involved. The preliminary conclusion is that whilst the camera sites have reduced speeding offences they have had a variable effect in reducing serious crashes.