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Study: Newark Red-Light Program Greatly Reduced Crashes; Incidents Surged Upon Pilot Completion

June 1, 2016 – In 2009, the City of Newark, New Jersey launched a five-year, red-light camera pilot program as part of an effort to reduce crashes and violations at 19 high-risk intersections and 46 approaches. Rutgers University conducted a study assessing the effectiveness of this program upon the pilot’s completion. Researchers analyzed two intersections with five years of data, 10 intersections with four years of data, and 14 intersections with three years of data. It found the red-light program contributed to:

  • 40 – 83% reduction in all crashes
  • 33 – 83% reduction in rear-end crashes
  • 50 – 100% reduction in right-angle or “T-bone” crashes

While the pilot ended December 2014, the cameras remained active to capture data. In the first three months following the pilot, red-light-running incidents increased 116%.

Despite this initial progress and subsequent surge in incidents, the New Jersey legislature failed to take action to continue the program. Researchers also documented positive safety results in other cities throughout the state, noting support from the local law enforcement and traffic engineering community. Lessons learned include:

  • The need for dedicated DOT staff and a single, central unit for administration.
  • Locations of red-light cameras should be established by crash priority, meaning the intersections with the most crashes should receive additional support from the safety tool.

Click here to view the full study and primary data.