Stop on Red
IMPROVING THE SAFETY OF OUR STREETS
Stop on Red was an innovative traffic safety program in which the Minneapolis Police used technology to decrease the number of red-light runners and reduce accidents within the city. The City installed digital cameras at 12 intersections to capture red-light violators in the act.
Minneapolis launched its Stop on Red program in the summer of 2005, and the results were significant. According to Minneapolis Police, during its eight months of operation, there was a 31 percent decrease in crashes at intersections monitored by Stop on Red cameras.
WHAT’S NEXT FOR STOP ON RED
The City’s Stop on Red program has not been operating since a Hennepin County District Court ruling in March 2006. The City of Minneapolis challenged the court ruling, and the Minnesota State Supreme Court upheld the ruling in March 2007.
The Stop on Red program was an effective public safety tool. It reduced accidents and saved lives. That’s why the City of Minneapolis is pursuing all of its available options to get this program reinstated. This includes seeking changes in state law that will allow Minneapolis to resume using Stop on Red.
HOW STOP ON RED WORKS
Stop on Red is designed to change driving behavior and improve safety. Minneapolis has more than 800 intersections with traffic signals, which means there are 3,200 traffic signal approaches. Equipment was placed at 12 intersections, which were selected based on accident data. These intersections had the highest ratio of accidents likely caused by red-light running. All monitored intersections were posted with "Photo Enforced" signs.
When a vehicle ran a red light at a monitored intersection, sensors installed in the roadway would activate a battery of cameras. The cameras would take three digital photos and twelve seconds of digital video footage. These pictures documented the violation. The system was only triggered by red-light runners.
A vehicle is considered to be running a red light when it crosses into the intersection after the light has turned red. Vehicles that are in the intersection when the light turns red, including those waiting for a break in traffic in order to complete a left turn, are not considered to be red light runners.
Within 14 days, a ticket was mailed to the registered owner of the vehicle. It contained three full-color digital images taken of the violation, each imprinted with the date, time, and location. A Web address was also provided where still pictures and a short video of the actual driving violation could be viewed on the Internet.
The Minneapolis Police had the sole and ultimate responsibly to decide if a citation was issued. The technology and equipment behind Stop on Red was provided and maintained by Redflex Traffic Systems.
If a vehicle owner was not the driver at the time of the violation, the owner had the option to provide police with the name of the person who was driving the vehicle. If such information was provided, the ticket could be re-issued to the driver.
During its eight months of operation, Stop on Red achieved a dramatic improvement in public safety. During that time, there was a 31 percent decrease in crashes at the monitored intersections.
In those eight months, 25,000 red-light violation tickets were issued using the Stop on Red cameras. To achieve the same result, it would take at least 50 officers positioned at these intersections. Stop on Red was managed by one police officer who reviewed every violation. This allowed the Police Department to assign officers to priority crime-fighting and public safety efforts.
The program was designed to enhance traffic safety. Therefore, the number and type of accidents at a particular intersection were the main criteria used to select the intersections. Minneapolis Police collected all available data on accidents at intersections with traffic lights. Special consideration was given to the number of right-angle, or T-bone, accidents, which typically occur when a driver runs a red light.
HOW THE CAMERAS WORKED
Stop on Red would take three still digital photographs and about twelve seconds of digital video.
The first photograph (Image 1) displayed the vehicle prior to entering into the intersection with a red light:
The second photograph (Image 2) showed the intersection during the red phase of the light sequence:
The third photograph (Image 3) included a close-up image of the vehicle's license plate. Police used this information to trace the vehicle back to the registered owner. Faces of drivers and passengers were not recorded.
HOW WAS IT PAID FOR
When Stop on Red was instituted, Minneapolis agreed to pay Redflex a flat annual fee of approximately $1 million to install and maintain the Stop on Red equipment and handle violation processing. The company did not receive a percentage of ticket revenue, and had no financial benefit linked to the number of tickets issued.
While the program was in operation, the ongoing expenses to run and maintain the program were offset by revenue generated by the issuance of citations. The program was revenue-neutral as it was not envisioned to be a profit center for the City, but rather a public safety program designed to save lives and reduce injuries.
In fact, much of the revenue generated by this program actually went to the State due to the surcharges on tickets issued by the City’s Police Department, pursuant to state law.
City of Minneapolis
City Hall, 350 S. 5th St.,
Minneapolis, MN 55415 (612) 673-2491
Last updated Feb. 7, 2012