How to Kick Start a Red-Light Enforcement Program Using Industry Best Practices
The decision to implement red-light enforcement systems is an important step toward improving public safety. However, critical groundwork must take place before systems are installed to ensure the community is ready for photo enforcement.
The Insurance Institute for Highway Safety (IIHS) broke down key steps for successful red-light camera programs in communities where photo enforcement is authorized to operate. The checklist starts with creating the program’s infrastructure:
Identify Problem Intersections – Using historical data and current field observations, determine the intersections that would benefit most from red-light cameras. Generally, cities choose to install cameras at intersections with historically high numbers of violations and crashes. Ask residents for input about red-light running as well – their experiences may help in the selection process.
Adjust Intersections to Make it Easy to Obey the Law – Before moving forward with photo enforcement installation, it is recommended that cities make additional roadway adjustments so it’s easier for drivers to stop at red lights:
- Confirming that signal timing conforms with state guidelines and those of the Manual on Uniform Traffic Control Devices and Institute of Transportation Engineers.
- Removing visual obstructions to traffic signage and signals.
- Ensuring road geometry aligns with guidelines from the state and the American Association of State Highway and Transportation Officials.
Establish an Advisory Committee – Key stakeholders should form an advisory committee to advise on the implementation of the red-light program. Representatives can include:
- • Court officials
- • Victim advocates
- • Community members
- • First responders
- • School officials
- • Health officials
- • The transportation department
- • Law enforcement
Before the committee convenes, establish its implementation and long-term roles in the city’s red-light program.
Promote the Program – In the early stages of the red-light program, meet with the local media, including newspaper reporters and TV and radio stations, to spread the word that a photo enforcement program is coming. These relationships are key to sharing information about the program both in its early stages and years down the road.
Redflex recommends that cities issue press releases about the program at the following stages:
- Initial announcement
The first press release announcing the red-light program should include details about its launch date and locations and should reinforce the program’s safety goals. It should also include relevant traffic and violation data to illustrate the need for photo enforcement and the methodology for selecting locations for enforcement.
- Beginning and end of warning period
Redflex recommends that cities engage in a warning period prior to officially launching their programs and issuing citations, allowing residents to become accustomed to photo enforcement. It is recommended to issue press releases to mark the beginning and end of the warning period, noting when citations will start being mailed.
- Three or six months after launch
A few months after the program officially begins, inform residents about progress, including data about violations or crashes. This is an opportunity to reinforce the transparency of your red-light program, along with the city’s overall public safety goals.
- One year after launch
This press release should contain an overview of a larger annual update. Compare crash and violation data from before photo enforcement was implemented to illustrate improvement, and share videos from cameras, if applicable. Additionally, inform key stakeholders about any program best practices learned during the year and suggest changes to improve the program further.
In addition to media outreach, promote the red-light program on relevant social media accounts and on the city website, sharing relevant data about red-light running and reminding residents where cameras are active. Aim to post content related to safe driving and red-light running on social networks at least twice per month.
After building a strong foundation for your red-light program, you’re ready to move forward with site and vendor selection, among other important administrative tasks. Learn more about Redflex’s red-light enforcement technology, or contact us for information about setting up a red-light program in your community.