Auto crashes more than doubled at busy Houston intersections after red light cameras were pulled from those areas, according to figures released by the Houston Police Department.
The controversial network of cameras installed at 50 high-risk intersections was taken down after it was defeated in a November 2010 referendum, halting an estimated $10 million in annual revenue to HPD. After the vote, the city filed a lawsuit against American Traffic Solutions, based in Arizona, to settle a breach of the camera contract, and eventually agreed to reimburse ATS $4.8 million for early termination.
Supporters of the camera system expressed concern that accidents at the once-monitored intersections would increase without the cameras, and HPD statistics show an increase of 117 percent over the last four years. While the cameras were in operation from 2006-2010, HPD reported 4,100 crashes at those intersections followed by almost 9,000 crashes during the next four years without camera, including a 30 percent increase in fatal collisions.
However, HPD’s data did not show traffic counts over time at the monitored intersections.
The traffic numbers were part of an HPD staff presentation to the city council’s Public Safety CommitteeTuesday morning. HPD is also proposing a “Strategic Growth Plan” that over the next five years would require a projected $105 million to pay the salaries and equipment of 540 additional officers.
Read the full story at The Houston Chron.com.