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Author Topic: Watchdog: IDOT approves red light cameras for already safe intersections  (Read 1799 times)

Brandon

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And the corruption just continues.

Watchdog: IDOT approves red light cameras for already safe intersections

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As rejection letters go, the Illinois Department of Transportation's message last year seemed pretty clear.

Oakbrook Terrace wanted to put red light cameras at a busy but relatively safe intersection. IDOT must approve cameras on state routes in the suburbs, and it said no: Cameras are for boosting safety, and the intersection's "low crash rates" did not support a need for cameras.

In just a few months, that no would turn into a yes.

It was a yes that, records show, came after the intervention of a powerful state senator who received campaign cash from the red light camera firm that stood to make millions of dollars from those Oakbrook Terrace cameras. The senator's involvement prompted dozens of emails between IDOT officials — with large passages of that correspondence kept secret to this day by IDOT.

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What happened at Illinois Highway 83 and 22nd Street highlights the inconsistent and at times contradictory way IDOT has approved the controversial cameras at nearly 200 intersections across the suburbs.

Ten years ago, the General Assembly allowed suburbs to install cameras, but for state routes, typically the busiest roads, IDOT needed to approve. And IDOT was talking tough. Engineers wanted cameras put only in truly dangerous places where no other fix had improved safety.

Yet, a Tribune analysis found that often didn't happen. Among the findings:

•More than half the intersections with cameras scored among the safest in IDOT studies at the time the agency approved the cameras.

•IDOT, more often than not, allowed cameras at places that didn't meet its own threshold for whether an intersection had a red light crash problem.

•Of current cameras, one-fourth were granted permits in spots with no red-light-related crashes in at least three years.

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As for the Oakbrook Terrace decision, IDOT said it felt no political pressure and did nothing wrong.

Michael Manzo, a village council member in Oak Brook, a suburb next to Oakbrook Terrace, helped lead the unsuccessful fight against the Oakbrook Terrace cameras. He called IDOT's flip-flop a "disgraceful" decision to aid the owners of a politically connected camera firm.

"Let's be honest," he said. "This is going to be, for these individuals, one of the most lucrative corners in the state of Illinois, and that's why they fought so hard to keep it."

Of course it's all about the money.

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The Tribune analysis included reviewing thousands of pages of records and crunching a decade's worth of IDOT crash and intersection data. IDOT could not provide an accurate list of all camera locations, so reporters crisscrossed the suburbs to locate and count cameras on state routes.

IDOT's oversight can be traced to a 2006 law that began as a bill to address drivers weaving around railroad gates. That legislation evolved — with no push from IDOT — to expanding red light cameras beyond Chicago and into the rest of the six-county area.

With red light firms working behind the scenes to get passage, advocates at the time said that the move was about safety. While research has been mixed, it generally has supported the idea that cameras — if installed at hazardous intersections — can reduce the most dangerous crashes.

But, state officials have said, cameras can do more harm than good at relatively safe intersections. Ticket-leery drivers can be scared into slamming on their brakes at yellow lights, causing rear-end crashes. Or drivers who could make a legal right turn on red may instead cause backups by sitting at intersections, out of fear of a ticket.

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IDOT's staff initially drafted a policy in 2006 that would have required specific metrics to define a dangerous intersection. Key among them: at least five T-bone or left-turn crashes a year attributed to someone running a red light. IDOT officials in an interview said that was based on federal policies and the agency's own experience with what number could signal a dangerous problem.

Under the draft policy, suburbs wanting cameras also had to show a steady or increasing number of red light violations at those intersections. Suburbs would have to produce a study that analyzed how a camera would affect crashes, including whether installing one would have the adverse effect of boosting rear-end crashes.

If the initial draft policy had been enacted, the Tribune found, it could have disqualified 181 of 184 intersections on state routes that currently have cameras.

But that draft was never adopted. It's unclear why.

Money, my dear boy, money.

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IDOT since 2007 has analyzed crash data on roughly 40,000 intersections to determine the most dangerous 5 percent. In later years, the agency also rated the intersections outside the 5 percent as having high, medium, low or minimal danger.

The Tribune used IDOT's data to determine danger levels for all intersections at the time the agency issued red light permits, and it found:

•The majority of intersections — 96 of 184 — had scores at "low" or "minimal" danger risk, the lowest categories.

•Only 24 intersections made the list of the most dangerous 5 percent of intersections at the time IDOT issued its permits. That's less than one of every seven intersections approved by IDOT.

Although IDOT at times cited its crash data analysis in its review of red-light applications, agency officials told the Tribune the studies meant little in deciding where cameras go.

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Agency officials said they instead focused on different metrics that IDOT tabulated for each stretch of roadway approaching an intersection, known as an approach leg. When a suburb requested a red light camera, IDOT reviewed the previous three years of crash data to see if there's enough T-bone or turning crashes to suggest a crash problem. Records showed the agency set the threshold at an average of three a year.

The agency at times cited the threshold as a reason to deny cameras, records show. But often, the Tribune analysis found, IDOT allowed cameras at places that didn't meet the threshold.

The Tribune reviewed the 287 approach legs with cameras. It found 204 legs — or 71 percent — didn't meet IDOT's metric for suggesting a crash problem.

And at 78 legs, there were no crashes attributed to someone disregarding a traffic control device or turning on red in the three years before a permit was issued.

IDOT's policy has always stated cameras "should be installed only where a safety problem ... has been documented."

But IDOT says the word "should" gives it wiggle room.

More like room for corruption.

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And records show IDOT has allowed cameras at corners with low crash levels.

That's how Berwyn got a camera in 2007 at eastbound Cermak Road and Ridgeland Avenue.

IDOT initially denied the request, saying crash data "only indicate a few" red-light-related crashes. But the police chief wrote an appeal letter, and IDOT then approved the permit.

And it's how Lake Zurich got IDOT's approval for cameras in 2009 on the east and west approaches of U.S. Highway 12 at June Terrace, an access road to busy commercial strips.

IDOT initially denied the permit there too, citing low crash levels. The red light vendor did a survey and found the only violators at those approaches were lower-risk, rolling right turns on red. But the suburb appealed and turned in new surveys with new sets of alleged violations that included more examples of alleged red light runners. IDOT reversed course.

And it's how Olympia Fields got a camera in 2009 for the westbound approach at U.S. Highway 30 and Orchard Drive. The Tribune found zero crashes caused by a red light runner in the prior three years.

Records show IDOT approved a permit because the camera vendor's survey counted seven red light violations over 12 hours. The red light camera vendor didn't say how many of those were rolling right turns on red.

Regarding IL-83 and 22nd Street again...

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In its 2015 application, Safespeed's latest study cited half the violations as the 2013 one. Yet the suburb and Safespeed had something else that year: endorsements from lawmakers who received campaign cash from Safespeed.

One was from Sen. Tom Cullerton, D-Villa Park, who by 2015 had received $3,000 from firms tied to Safespeed's owner.

He wrote a letter to John Fortmann — the top local IDOT official at the time — to "introduce" Fortmann to Safespeed and ask IDOT to approve the application. The need for such an introduction is unclear because, by then, Fortmann's office for years had been working with Safespeed.

Records show another appeal came the very day the 2015 application was submitted to IDOT, from a more powerful senator: Martin Sandoval, D-Cicero.

Unlike Cullerton, Sandoval's district didn't include Oakbrook Terrace. Nor did Sandoval's district include the Chicago headquarters of Safespeed. But Sandoval did chair the Senate Transportation Committee. And two months before Sandoval intervened, one of Safespeed's owners cut Sandoval's campaign a check for $5,000.

Can we just ban these cameras already?  The corruption involved just fucking stinks to high heaven.

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The emails that were released showed Sandoval contacted Fortmann, and Fortmann told his peers that Sandoval brought up a Rauner administration proposal to add an extra toll lane to I-55 — known as the I-55 Managed Lanes Project — a proposal that, then and now, awaits legislative approval.

"He indicated that while unrelated he wants to work with the administration on other issues such as I55 Manage lanes (sic) but is not getting the type of cooperation on his issues that he would like to see," Fortmann wrote to his peers.

Nice.  Hold another, unrelated project hostage until we get our cash cow.

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Fortmann retired in December and took a job at a local engineering consulting firm that works with IDOT. He said he couldn't recall specifically who decided to allow cameras at the intersection: administrators in Springfield, the local IDOT district or a combination. But he defended it.

"I just know there are a lot of violations at that intersection," he said. "To me, it wasn't that controversial."

That's not how Oak Brook saw it.

Oak Brook had long fought the cameras, fearing they would drive away mall customers and hurt sales tax revenue. It amped up its fight.

That village's police chief studied the intersection and described it as "tremendously safe."

Then the suburb approved an ordinance banning red light cameras in Oak Brook. In it, the Village Board complained that red light firms have made roads less safe, not more, by seeking to "corrupt local law enforcement by turning it into a moneymaker for political leaders, who in turn have signed contracts granting substantial profits to red light contractors, who in turn have paid contributions to political decision makers."

Exactly what I and others have been saying for years.

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Records show Safespeed and its owners were among Oakbrook Terrace Mayor Tony Ragucci's biggest donors over the years. And if the numbers in Safespeed's study come true, the firm's cut of the violation cash could approach $5 million a year just from that intersection.

And the money train just keeps running.
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Brandon

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ET21

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Re: Watchdog: IDOT approves red light cameras for already safe intersections
« Reply #2 on: September 22, 2017, 03:19:04 PM »

 :-D :-D :-D :-D :-D
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inkyatari

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Re: Watchdog: IDOT approves red light cameras for already safe intersections
« Reply #3 on: September 22, 2017, 04:19:58 PM »

Those surprised, please stand up so you can be smacked with a clue-by-four.
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Brandon

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Re: Watchdog: IDOT approves red light cameras for already safe intersections
« Reply #4 on: September 22, 2017, 04:50:36 PM »

Those surprised, please stand up so you can be smacked with a clue-by-four.

Forget it, Jake.  It's Chinatown Illinois.
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ilpt4u

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Re: Watchdog: IDOT approves red light cameras for already safe intersections
« Reply #5 on: September 23, 2017, 08:20:20 PM »

I'm glad we don't have Red Light Cameras in Southern IL (yet)

But this being the great state of IL, its probably only a matter of time before they appear on IL 13 in Marion and Carbondale...
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edwaleni

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Re: Watchdog: IDOT approves red light cameras for already safe intersections
« Reply #6 on: September 23, 2017, 09:37:52 PM »

One only need to read the travails the red light cameras had in Schaumburg.

They were finally removed as people, furious for getting ticketed for harmless right on red turns, started contesting them in traffic court, where the judges started throwing them out.

Pretty soon the State's Attorney's office intervened and asked they be removed because it was costing so much to represent the state in court and continually losing.

The company attempted to pay off several local legislators campaign funds to keep them in place, but the public outcry was just too loud. They were removed.  Cook County Traffic Court in Rolling Meadows saw a reduction almost immediately.

On the flip side, the state is broke and running 18 months behind on tax reimbursements, so municipalities are trying to find revenue without more taxation, since Illinois just doubled the income tax. So here come red light cameras.
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hbelkins

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Re: Watchdog: IDOT approves red light cameras for already safe intersections
« Reply #7 on: September 24, 2017, 03:41:35 PM »

If red light violations are that important, then have the jurisdictions assign cops to those locations. Let those governmental agencies justify why it's more important to write traffic tickets than to combat real crime. Also, law enforcement on public property should not be done by for-profit entities.
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ChiMilNet

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Re: Watchdog: IDOT approves red light cameras for already safe intersections
« Reply #8 on: September 24, 2017, 03:47:58 PM »

One only need to read the travails the red light cameras had in Schaumburg.

They were finally removed as people, furious for getting ticketed for harmless right on red turns, started contesting them in traffic court, where the judges started throwing them out.

Pretty soon the State's Attorney's office intervened and asked they be removed because it was costing so much to represent the state in court and continually losing.

The company attempted to pay off several local legislators campaign funds to keep them in place, but the public outcry was just too loud. They were removed.  Cook County Traffic Court in Rolling Meadows saw a reduction almost immediately.

On the flip side, the state is broke and running 18 months behind on tax reimbursements, so municipalities are trying to find revenue without more taxation, since Illinois just doubled the income tax. So here come red light cameras.

I had a relative get caught by one of those cameras in Schaumburg before it was removed. They never posed any danger to other cars, and it was such a money grab. Looking at that map doesn't surprise me in the least.

If the municipalities want better revenue, maybe combine some of them to remove redundant government expenses. I'll stop before this gets more political than it already is. Sadly, this article will likely do nothing to change it.
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johndoe780

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Re: Watchdog: IDOT approves red light cameras for already safe intersections
« Reply #9 on: September 24, 2017, 05:25:23 PM »

I feel as if the red light cameras are more of a city thing due to antique intersection design than a suburban thing. There's a few here and there in the far western suburbs, but not as common as when you get closer to the city.

They used to have these on Golf and 59, but when IDOT redid the intersection last year, they added signalized right hand turns hence eliminating the red light cameras ever since.
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Jericho That

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Re: Watchdog: IDOT approves red light cameras for already safe intersections
« Reply #10 on: September 25, 2017, 08:08:20 AM »

If red light violations are that important, then have the jurisdictions assign cops to those locations. Let those governmental agencies justify why it's more important to write traffic tickets than to combat real crime. Also, law enforcement on public property should not be done by for-profit entities.

I wish they would assign cops to the 22nd Street/IL 83 intersection.  Red light runners aren't a safety concern there, for the most part, but that doesn't mean there aren't half a dozen after EVERY WB to SB green arrow on weekdays.
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kalvado

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Re: Watchdog: IDOT approves red light cameras for already safe intersections
« Reply #11 on: September 25, 2017, 08:33:57 AM »

If red light violations are that important, then have the jurisdictions assign cops to those locations. Let those governmental agencies justify why it's more important to write traffic tickets than to combat real crime. Also, law enforcement on public property should not be done by for-profit entities.

I wish they would assign cops to the 22nd Street/IL 83 intersection.  Red light runners aren't a safety concern there, for the most part, but that doesn't mean there aren't half a dozen after EVERY WB to SB green arrow on weekdays.
If it is not a safety concern, there is no need to waste police resources given they should be busy enough dealing with the crime rate Chicago enjoys as we speak.
Redesign of an intersection to provide more capacity to traffic which cannot be handled by existing intersection may be a better idea...
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SEWIGuy

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Re: Watchdog: IDOT approves red light cameras for already safe intersections
« Reply #12 on: September 25, 2017, 09:25:49 AM »

If red light violations are that important, then have the jurisdictions assign cops to those locations. Let those governmental agencies justify why it's more important to write traffic tickets than to combat real crime. Also, law enforcement on public property should not be done by for-profit entities.

I wish they would assign cops to the 22nd Street/IL 83 intersection.  Red light runners aren't a safety concern there, for the most part, but that doesn't mean there aren't half a dozen after EVERY WB to SB green arrow on weekdays.
If it is not a safety concern, there is no need to waste police resources given they should be busy enough dealing with the crime rate Chicago enjoys as we speak.


The intersection isn't in Chicago.  Otherwise that's a GREAT point!!!   :crazy:
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kalvado

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Re: Watchdog: IDOT approves red light cameras for already safe intersections
« Reply #13 on: September 25, 2017, 09:37:46 AM »

If red light violations are that important, then have the jurisdictions assign cops to those locations. Let those governmental agencies justify why it's more important to write traffic tickets than to combat real crime. Also, law enforcement on public property should not be done by for-profit entities.

I wish they would assign cops to the 22nd Street/IL 83 intersection.  Red light runners aren't a safety concern there, for the most part, but that doesn't mean there aren't half a dozen after EVERY WB to SB green arrow on weekdays.
If it is not a safety concern, there is no need to waste police resources given they should be busy enough dealing with the crime rate Chicago enjoys as we speak.


The intersection isn't in Chicago.  Otherwise that's a GREAT point!!!   :crazy:
There is a fair amount of "PUNISH THEM! PROSECUTE THEM!" attitude going around - without realizing that enforcement is only one, and not always the best, tool here. To make things worse, people tend to forget that compliance is not a goal in itself, there is (or should be) a reason for each and every regulation. And if the same goal (traffic safety in this particular case) may be achieved with other means, those approaches are worth examining as well as they may be more effective and/or cheaper...
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Jericho That

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Re: Watchdog: IDOT approves red light cameras for already safe intersections
« Reply #14 on: September 26, 2017, 08:13:36 AM »


There is a fair amount of "PUNISH THEM! PROSECUTE THEM!" attitude going around - without realizing that enforcement is only one, and not always the best, tool here. To make things worse, people tend to forget that compliance is not a goal in itself, there is (or should be) a reason for each and every regulation. And if the same goal (traffic safety in this particular case) may be achieved with other means, those approaches are worth examining as well as they may be more effective and/or cheaper...

This isn't an operational issue, it's an asshole issue. The turn lanes have sufficient storage, but drivers don't want to wait another cycle. Enforcement would be the most effective solution at this intersection.
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kalvado

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Re: Watchdog: IDOT approves red light cameras for already safe intersections
« Reply #15 on: September 26, 2017, 08:39:16 AM »


There is a fair amount of "PUNISH THEM! PROSECUTE THEM!" attitude going around - without realizing that enforcement is only one, and not always the best, tool here. To make things worse, people tend to forget that compliance is not a goal in itself, there is (or should be) a reason for each and every regulation. And if the same goal (traffic safety in this particular case) may be achieved with other means, those approaches are worth examining as well as they may be more effective and/or cheaper...

This isn't an operational issue, it's an asshole issue. The turn lanes have sufficient storage, but drivers don't want to wait another cycle. Enforcement would be the most effective solution at this intersection.

Could be - as you see, I have no idea even where that intersection is..
However, I know a local intersection where running late on red arrow is very common (left turn is for getting to highway from quite busy arterial). Problem of that spot is too much traffic - you can easily wait for 2 full cycles before getting through. I suspect that without people running the light, place will become a parking lot... So asshole factor is  just a contributing one to a bigger problem.
You see, traffic lights - unlike speed limit signs - are generally respected by motorists since everyone understand the reason for them. If there is a specific hot spot in terms of running red light and/or corresponding accident, I would look at underlying problem before ramping up enforcement. I do not benefit from fines, though, and those money may change my approach..
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Henry

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Re: Watchdog: IDOT approves red light cameras for already safe intersections
« Reply #16 on: September 26, 2017, 10:43:46 AM »

Is it any wonder they call it IDiOT???
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Brandon

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Re: Watchdog: IDOT approves red light cameras for already safe intersections
« Reply #17 on: September 26, 2017, 11:11:14 AM »


There is a fair amount of "PUNISH THEM! PROSECUTE THEM!" attitude going around - without realizing that enforcement is only one, and not always the best, tool here. To make things worse, people tend to forget that compliance is not a goal in itself, there is (or should be) a reason for each and every regulation. And if the same goal (traffic safety in this particular case) may be achieved with other means, those approaches are worth examining as well as they may be more effective and/or cheaper...

This isn't an operational issue, it's an asshole issue. The turn lanes have sufficient storage, but drivers don't want to wait another cycle. Enforcement would be the most effective solution at this intersection.

The problem, having been through that intersection many, many times, is that the green arrow is not long enough to clear the turn lanes.  Were it long enough to clear the turn lanes, the issue would go away.
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Brandon

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Watchdog: 10 years after red light cameras came to suburbs, state...safety
« Reply #18 on: December 20, 2017, 02:03:40 PM »

More:

Watchdog: 10 years after red light cameras came to suburbs, state hasn't assessed whether they've improved safety

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Since red light cameras were introduced in Chicago’s suburbs a decade ago, state and local officials have routinely ignored requirements to analyze the safety impact at the intersections where cameras were placed, a Tribune investigation has found.

The result: The state has not ordered a single camera removed for ineffectiveness as suburbs have collected millions of dollars in fines — sometimes in places where crashes increased after cameras were turned on.

When the cameras were proposed a decade ago, supporters pledged their primary purpose was to reduce crashes. To prove they worked, a rigorous process was carved into state law and Illinois Department of Transportation policies that supporters said would show the cameras improved safety, not just filled town coffers.

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Yet for years, the Tribune found, those requirements were often sidestepped, with towns failing to turn in complete reports, or any reports at all, and with IDOT failing to follow up.

The Tribune investigation also found:

• After cameras were installed, the crash rate rose at one-fourth of places that could be studied.

• IDOT didn’t study crash statistics submitted by suburbs with cameras, nor track suburbs that didn’t submit statistical reports required under IDOT’s rules. No suburb has been penalized for not submitting reports.

• About one-third of suburbs with red light cameras did not post camera safety studies online for public scrutiny, as required by law. No suburb did a required additional study on places with cameras where crash rates increased.

• Of the suburbs that conducted studies and submitted required follow-up reports, the vast majority farmed out the analysis to the same private firms supplying the cameras and making money off tickets they produce.

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IDOT oversees state routes outside Chicago, and the Tribune documented 287 stretches of road where IDOT has permitted cameras. Of those, 240 had cameras for a long enough period to study before-and-after effects. The Tribune first looked at the types of crashes advocates cited when lobbying for cameras: those blamed on red light runners that kill or seriously injure someone.

The results were mixed — mostly because of how rare such crashes occur.

Of the 240 stretches studied:

• 207 didn’t have a single such crash in the three years before or after cameras were put in.

• 17 went from zero crashes to one after cameras were installed.

• 14 saw one less crash, typically from one to zero.

• Two had one crash before and one crash after.

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But researchers caution that other factors could affect crash rates besides cameras.

For example, IDOT made a significant push to install brighter traffic signals across the suburbs, particularly at corners with cameras, so drivers can better see the signals. That could have boosted safety, with or without cameras there.

Nationally, researchers can’t agree whether cameras make corners safer.

Some say they do, and their studies have been touted by federal safety officials, the insurance industry, red light camera vendors and the suburbs that hire them. Others say they don’t, and that includes studies in 2014 and 2016 from University of South Florida researchers who critiqued the methods and math of earlier, pro-camera studies.

“We have not seen a study that adheres to scientific methods that finds a safety benefit to cameras,” said health professor Barbara Langland Orban, lead author of the South Florida studies.

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Records show the agency began a $60,000 study in August 2016 to review crash figures at a sample of intersections to gauge if cameras, in general, reduced crashes in the region. It was not designed to rate every intersection and is expected to offer a general sense based on the results of roughly 40 intersections, one-fifth of the total intersections with cameras.

Regardless, it’s shrouded in secrecy. Researchers at Bradley University and the University of Illinois were supposed to submit a “white paper” by the end of 2016 and a final report by mid-April 2017. On Nov. 14, an IDOT spokesman said the study would be released publicly “literally any day now.” In the meantime, IDOT won’t release anything submitted by researchers and, as a condition of the studies, prohibited researchers from speaking about their work.

There is no logical reason to gag the researchers.

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IDOT was supposed to have another role in assessing whether cameras reduced crashes.

IDOT’s policy says it should conduct periodic reviews of each intersection where cameras were introduced, using reports each suburb is supposed to turn in after the first year of operating cameras, and then every three years after that.

Suburbs must promise to conduct and turn in those reports before IDOT issues a permit for a suburb to get a red light camera on a state route.

IDOT acknowledges it hasn’t tracked who’s turned in reports and who hasn’t.

The Tribune filed a request under state law to see the records. The agency granted reporters access to the reports that were packed in a file cabinet in IDOT’s District 1 office building in Schaumburg. In reviewing those file cabinets this year, reporters found no record of reports for seven suburbs that should have filed them by then — Bedford Park, Fox Lake, Gurnee, Lincolnwood, Maywood, Morton Grove and Plainfield.

Why are there no penalties for the lack of reports?

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Even when suburbs did submit the required reports, many were filed years beyond the timetable indicated in state policy, with no sanctions. And nearly every report — 222 of 246 the Tribune reviewed — was filed by the red light firms that made money off the cameras.

In 2014, after River Forest installed cameras, crashes increased at North and Harlem avenues. Red light vendor SafeSpeed nonetheless wrote to IDOT: “Shifts in driving habits like these are to be expected in the first year of a new … camera system.”

The state doesn’t know whether that’s true. IDOT acknowledged that its personnel have never used the reports to perform a comprehensive evaluation of the cameras’ effectiveness.

The fox is running the hen house.

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Illinois lawmakers wanted residents to be able to judge the merits of cameras, too.

That’s why the state enacted a law in 2011 that, among other things, required each suburb with cameras to complete a “statistical analysis” of the safety impact of its cameras. The law required each study to be posted on a suburb’s website.

I've yet to see any of these studies on any municipal website.

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The law calls for a “statistically valid comparison” that “shall be consistent with professional judgment and acceptable industry practice.” But it doesn’t spell out details, and the Tribune found suburbs counted and compared crashes in different ways.

Lake Zurich, for example, installed cameras at three intersections in 2009. Crashes initially dropped the next year, then began climbing higher than they were before cameras.

One year they rose 27 percent. The next: 12 percent. Each year, the village labeled the increases as “not significant enough” for studying. But when crash levels later dropped 16 percent, those new statistics were put in boldface and italicized in a report on the village website, with the following line: “The decrease is significant.” Even with the drop, crash levels remained higher than the average level before cameras were installed.

The Police Department blamed the crash increase on other factors, not the cameras.

Of course they did.  Why wreck the revenue gravy train?

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Suburbs are supposed to use scientific methods to figure out why crashes increase at some intersections.

The 2011 law has a second requirement that’s triggered if the crash rate of a stretch of road with a camera rises in the three years after cameras were installed. If that happens, a suburb is supposed to launch another study to figure out why and what can be done about it.

The Tribune — doing its own analysis of state crash data — found 42 suburbs had 63 combined approaches that appear to qualify for such a study.

The Tribune asked each of those suburbs for any additional studies they did to comply with the law. No suburb provided one.

What a shock!

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Like many mandates the state passes on to local governments, the law requiring red light camera studies does not specify a way to enforce it.

IDOT does oversee permits for any suburb with red light cameras on a state route, and the agency has the power to yank those permits if it “is in the best interest of the motoring public,” according to its policy.

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Take Harlem Avenue and 22nd Street, which straddles Berwyn and North Riverside.

By 2013, Berwyn had put up cameras at the two approaches it controlled. Crashes increased.

North Riverside asked IDOT to allow cameras at the other two approaches. IDOT noted the rising crash figures at Berwyn’s approaches. Still, IDOT OK’d the new cameras for North Riverside.

Then there was an increase of crashes at those approaches, too.

North Riverside dutifully noted the increase in its first report to IDOT, which the suburb also posted on its website. It stumped for the continued use of cameras on the expectation the suburb could, in a future report, provide “more compelling information” on the cameras’ merits.

Tucked in North Riverside’s report was a hint at how likely the cameras might be removed, a hint that its vendor, SafeSpeed, used word-for-word to describe other situations in other suburbs where it has cameras.

“In time,” the report said, “these cameras will become a part of everyday life for motorists living and working in this area.”
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"If you think this has a happy ending, you haven't been paying attention." - Ramsay Bolton

Illinois: America's own banana republic.

inkyatari

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Re: Watchdog: IDOT approves red light cameras for already safe intersections
« Reply #19 on: December 20, 2017, 10:17:49 PM »

NO!
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Scott5114

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Re: Watchdog: IDOT approves red light cameras for already safe intersections
« Reply #20 on: January 01, 2018, 07:19:23 AM »

KHAAAAN!
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GeekJedi

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Re: Watchdog: IDOT approves red light cameras for already safe intersections
« Reply #21 on: January 01, 2018, 08:48:18 PM »

I like big fonts and I can not lie. :clap:
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Brandon

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Red-light cameras: Too lucrative to give up?
« Reply #22 on: January 19, 2018, 01:28:14 PM »

Editorial: Red-light cameras: Too lucrative to give up?

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Back when many Chicago suburbs began installing red-light cameras to catch violators, local officials said their main purpose was safety. “The goal is to cut down on accidents,” said one mayor. The Tribune reported in 2008 that some experts thought the technology could “alter driving behavior on an epic scale.”

A decade later, we haven’t seen any epic change in driving behavior. And if you still think the main objective was safety rather than revenue, we have some suburban bridges to sell you.

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What’s become clear is that many local officials have little interest in the safety results — but they do care about the revenue. Even worse, when there is a clear conflict between preventing accidents and raising money, money gets priority.

That’s the only inference to be drawn from an investigation by Tribune reporters Joe Mahr and Matthew Walberg. “After cameras were installed, the crash rate rose at one-fourth of the places that could be studied,” they found. But the Illinois Department of Transportation has failed to revoke the permits it provides for these cameras.

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IDOT, meanwhile, has been asleep at the wheel, letting these governments shirk their obligations. Those that filed their reports late incurred no penalty. Likewise for those that bailed on the follow-up studies. On top of all that, the Tribune reported, “IDOT has not once ordered a camera removed for being ineffective.”
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jeffandnicole

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Re: Watchdog: IDOT approves red light cameras for already safe intersections
« Reply #23 on: January 19, 2018, 01:38:23 PM »

Remember when newspapers were able to investigate and communicate failures of the government, giving normal, everyday citizens the opportunity to fight against the Government and demand change?

Unfortunately for the Chicago Tribune (and newspapers at large), they can preach to the choir, but the elected officials simply read and laugh at these stories and editorials.  The voters not only don't do anything, but they re-elect the people that created and continue the problem.
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kalvado

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Re: Watchdog: IDOT approves red light cameras for already safe intersections
« Reply #24 on: January 19, 2018, 01:53:09 PM »

Remember when newspapers were able to investigate and communicate failures of the government, giving normal, everyday citizens the opportunity to fight against the Government and demand change?

Unfortunately for the Chicago Tribune (and newspapers at large), they can preach to the choir, but the elected officials simply read and laugh at these stories and editorials.  The voters not only don't do anything, but they re-elect the people that created and continue the problem.
Another factor is camera location. With bunch of smaller municipalities, it is entirely possible to put cameras on shared roads, and possibly even suppress tickets for in-town registrations. So ticket recipients don't vote for officials who order cameras, and voters see that ticket money go towards lower taxes...
At least this is what we see here - cameras on arterials in main city mostly geared towards suburban commuters...
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