Evaluation of red light camera enforcement in Oxnard, California

Retting, Richard A. / Williams, Allan F. / Farmer, Charles M. / Feldman, Amy F.
Accident Analysis & Prevention (AAP)
May 1999

Red light cameras are increasingly being used to supplement police efforts to enforce against noncompliance with traffic signals--a substantial contributing factor in urban motor vehicle crashes. Camera enforcement is intended to modify driver behavior through both general deterrence and punishment of individual violators. A before/after quasi-experimental design with controls was employed to evaluate the influence of a red light camera enforcement program on red light violation rates in the city of Oxnard, CA. A total of 14 intersections (nine camera sites, three non-camera sites, and two control sites) were studied. Overall, the red light violation rate was reduced approximately 42% several months after the enforcement program began. Increases in driver compliance with red lights were not limited to the camera-equipped intersections but spilled over to nonequipped intersections as well. Results of public opinion surveys conducted approximately 6 weeks before, 6 weeks after, and 6 months after the camera enforcement program began indicated that nearly 80% of Oxnard residents support using red light cameras as a supplement to police efforts to enforce traffic signal laws.