Advantages of traffic cameras
Supporters of traffic cameras say the cameras decrease speeding and running red lights. The Howard County Police Department is one such supporter and has implemented both a red light camera system and a speed camera system in an attempt to decrease red light violations and speeding, especially in school zones. (www.howardcountymd.gov)
Their website lists locations of both types of traffic cameras. (www.howardcountymd.gov) Their reasoning may be that people will not want to get their picture taken, so they are less likely to speed or run red lights and get in accidents. So posting the locations of red light cameras and speed cameras in the county may encourage people to drive more carefully. This website posts those lists in an effort to increase community awareness and motivate people to drive more safely.
The actual studies from speed and red light cameras have mixed results, though. The data from red light camera studies is inconclusive (Federal Highway Administration). However, the existing research for speed cameras “consistently shows that speed cameras are an effective intervention in reducing road traffic collisions and related casualties.” (Pilington and Sanjay) So speed cameras may be a more effective deterrent to reckless driving than red light cameras. See the WJZ News Clip for more information.
An additional advantage of traffic cameras is that they can monitor intersections more efficiently and effectively than humans. If there is a traffic camera at an intersection, then there is no need for a police officer to be there, making it so that more officers are available for other duties. Also, traffic cameras provide 24/7 traffic monitoring, so they can be present at intersections more than police officers and at a lower cost. And some believe traffic cameras to be safer since officers do not have to chase down offenders. (www.howardcountymd.gov)