Last week Governor Andrew Cuomo granted permission for several cities and counties in New York, including Rochester, to begin or continue red light camera programs until 2019.  [PHOTO: FringeHog, Flickr]
Posted by: Renee Stetzer, pedestrian safety advocate and blogger at RocVille.com

The City Council will vote to extend the red light camera program on October 14th. Rochester began its program in 2010 and there are currently cameras installed at over 30 intersections. The city recently completed its second study on the impact the cameras have on traffic accidents at intersections with cameras. Although the official report is not yet available to the public, some draft findings were shared at a City Council meeting in August.  Here are a few…

  • 38% fewer crashes at intersections with cameras
  • 35% reduction in right-angle collisions
  • 38% reduction in rear-end collisions
  • injuries as a result of accidents from running red lights: down 81%
  • An estimated over $4M saved for motorists in medical & vehicle repair costs during a 4 year period

It’s important to note that these findings are based on police reports, not just photos taken by the cameras.  A photo does not automatically mean a ticket for the registered driver.  All evidence (photos) are reviewed by the RPD 3 times and approved before a Notice of Liability is sent in the mail.

Does the presence of red light cameras make those intersections safer?

Mayor Lovely Warren sees enough evidence that she has proposed extending the city’s red light camera program for another five years. The City Council will vote on it on October 14.

The latest Allstate Best Drivers Report put Rochester at #144 out of 200 of the largest cities where drivers are least likely to experience a collision. Drivers in our city are 25% more likely (when compared to the national average) to get in an accident. And we even slipped 13 spots down the list when compared to 2013.

There are all sorts of reasons for our terrible spot on that list — distracted driving, driving under the influence and the weather. But before you get all up on that last one — Syracuse ranked better than Rochester. Honolulu was not far ahead of our city at #140. So it’s not all about the weather. There is clearly room for improvement in our efforts to make it safer to live and get around Rochester.

Initiatives such as red light camera programs, lower default speed limits and speed cameras are all pieces of the puzzle that many cities and states across the nation are committed to in an effort to make city streets safer for all who traverse them.

Have something to say about Rochester’s red light cameras?

Leave a comment below or join the conversation here:
Do Red Light Cameras Make Rochester Streets Safer?


  1. Rochester, is getting a small town mentality, and going back to the 1980’s trying to reduce accidents. It won’t hire policemen, or redesign lights and intersections like more modern cities are doing. It would rather stay a rust belt city and ignore the facts that other cities are saving money and lives getting rid of red light cameras and using their intelligence and the successes of other cities in dealing with this problem. Go to the links below and see what can be done.
    In New Jersey, Brick Township Mayor John Ducey recently announced he was putting the brakes on red-light cameras at three intersections that have led to more than 83,000 tickets and generated more than $2 million in revenue since the program began in 2010.
    “I promised to review our red-light camera program and remove them if that review didn’t convince me that they were making our roads safer,” the mayor told the Asbury Park Press. “I have kept that promise. After conducting that review, I am not convinced that the benefit is safety and not revenue.”
    “Jurisdictions considering the installation of red light cameras need to investigate first what is causing the crashes they wish to reduce. Not all collisions at red light–controlled intersections can be cured by red light cameras. A poorly designed intersection or a signal obscured by sunlight at certain times will not become safer with red light cameras.” Philadelphia, Pennsylvania’s solution was to increase the yellow change interval by about one second, reducing red light violations by 36 percent! Police Chief Magazine.




  2. Few things.

    1.) Report is out today. Red light cameras make us safer. Period.

    2.) I love the frequent and disingenuous arguments that we should be reconfiguring the geometry of our intersections in lieu of red light cameras. This is true, we should. Except it is these very same people that will whine until they are blue in the face that construction is expensive, and there is no problem at all. We cannot let perfect be the enemy of good.

    Red light cameras are inexpensive compared to geometry changes and they work. I cordially invite the people making the argument against them to stop taking aspirin after a heart attack (cheap and effective) in the hopes of surviving future trips to the ER.

    Good luck, friends.

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