The Challenge:

Seattle, Washington is a major metropolitan area dominated by automobiles and public transportation, resulting in a high number of red-light violations. In an effort to reduce violations and increase public safety, ATS was contracted to develop and install a red-light enforcement program.

The Approach:

In January 2006, Seattle selected American Traffic Solutions (ATS) as the city’s red-light camera vendor. The city partnered with ATS in every aspect of the design and implementation of the red-light program, taking advantage of ATS’ decade of experience in big cities like New York City and Philadelphia. ATS and the city staff selected four intersections to be monitored by the initial six camera systems.

In April 2006, Seattle started its education and community outreach program with a professional public opinion to gauge the levels of a public knowledge and support for the cameras. 70% of Seattle residents thought red-light running was a problem. 82% expressed support for the installation of red-light cameras.

The Results:

After the red-light cameras had been in operation for 10 months, Seattle evaluated the pilot program year-to-date results. The report cited:

  • A 50% reduction in red-light violations at monitored intersections
  • Decrease in injury crashes
  • Decline in the number and severity of people injured by red-light crashes at monitored approaches
  • 14,000 issued citations
  • Pay rate exceeding 70%
  • Nearly $1 million in violation fines collected

The program and ATS exceeded expectations on many of the criteria measured in the formal evaluation, and, the program came in significantly under budget.

Based on the success and widespread public support of the pilot program, Seattle is adding 24 red-light cameras at 19 intersections. The City also announced plans to start a speed-camera program to monitor school zones where speeding has become a problem.