A preliminary report prepared by researchers at New Mexico State University has found no statistically significant benefit to red light cameras in Las Cruces. New Mexico State University engineering professors Hansuk Sohn and Paola Bandini compared data supplied by the city for four red light camera intersections. This data was then compared with six intersections without the cameras in place. According to the researchers, there was little evidence the cameras provided a benefit to the community.
The City of Las Cruces began using red light cameras at a total of four intersections in 2009. Two of those intersections were later shut down by the State of New Mexico’s Department of Transportation. According to researchers, fewer accidents occurred at two of the four red light camera intersections, more accidents occurred at one intersection, and no change occurred at the other intersection. At the six intersections used for comparison, three had fewer accidents, two intersections had more accidents, and one was unchanged during the same time period. Although the researchers primarily focused on the red light camera intersection with the most favorable crash data, their preliminary report established no statistically significant change in overall crash rates at any of the intersections they examined.
City leaders commissioned the study at a cost of $30,000 in an effort to provide support for the use of the cameras in the community. In November 2010, the city council chose to continue the red light camera program despite initial data which suggested there may be an increased risk of accidents at intersections where red light cameras were installed. The cameras were expected to bring in approximately $5 million to the city in 2011. The researchers will present three additional safety reports to the Las Cruces City Council over the next two years.
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Assessment of Impact of City of Las Cruces Safe Traffic Operations Program on Intersection Traffic Safety, by Hansuk Sohn and Paola Bandini, New Mexico State University, January 3, 2012
New Mexico: Report Finds No Proven Red Light Camera Benefit, theNewspaper.com