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While the Chicago region’s population grew by 18 percent since 1980, the traffic increased by 66 percent in the same period.

Tribune continues to omit compelling data on speed cameras

The Chicago Tribune reporters appear to be more interested in blocking speed camera enforcement than reporting on it. In their latest story published today, even the headline is inaccurate: “Mayor's speed camera stats sketchy.” However, the Tribune analyzed red light camera enforcement in Chicago. To date there has been no speed camera enforcement, and to equate the two is inaccurate.

src=http://www.activetrans.org/sites/default/files/crosswalk_0.jpgSo what would be a good way to assess the effects of speed cameras, aside from the commonsense notion that camera enforcement will reduce speeding, and that speeding causes more crashes, as well as crashes that are more dangerous? How about the following data we have given the Tribune and it continues to selectively omit from its reporting:

— An analysis of more than 90 studies assessing speed enforcement cameras in the Journal of the Transportation Research Board found an average injury crash reduction of 20 to 25 percent, with more effective programs reducing crashes by more than 50 percent.

— According to research done by the United Kingdom Department of Transportation, at 40 mph, pedestrians survive a crash only about 15 percent of time. At 20 mph, the survival rate for pedestrians is 95 percent.

Back to red light cameras: the Tribune’s analysis of red light camera enforcement may have revealed that the city bungled its assessment of crash reductions near red light cameras. We’ve cited the city’s crash reduction stats near red light cameras, and the city needs to set the record straight if that data is not accurate.

We haven’t reviewed the Tribune’s analysis, but it doesn’t appear to prove or disprove that red light cameras work. One thing seems pretty clear: Drivers don’t blow lights nearly as much where these cameras are located.

Chicago needs to do all it can to reduce speeding and improve safety on our streets. This will require enforcement tools and a change of attitude about how we drive in our neighborhoods. It’s worth emphasizing that if drivers aren’t exceeding the speed limit, they will not be ticketed by speed cameras.