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Red Light Cameras

Red Light Camera

In an effort to reduce collisions and make City streets safer, Daly City implemented its new red light camera enforcement program on March 11th, 2008. Cameras and sensors monitor the city’s highest-risk intersection approaches.

At its very basic level, the system is a series of cameras and flashes controlled by a computer, which determines when to capture images based on the speed of a violating vehicle. The system is only “armed” during the red phase of the cycle, which eliminates the possibility of a non-violating capture. Sounds futuristic doesn’t it? However, in reality these types of systems have been around for a very long time. The first systems were introduced in the 1960’s. Back then they used regular or “wet film”, much like a regular 35mm camera.

Today’s systems have joined the computer age and utilize full digital technology, making them reliable, accurate and easy to maintain. Most red light camera systems operate from three very simple principles; detection, calculation and actuation. The system must first detect that a violation is about to occur. This done by induction loop technology, radar or video detection. After having detected a violation the system must then calculate the optimum timing for capturing the violation sequence and then finally, the system must capture the violation with high resolution cameras and video. 

The ultimate goal of the Daly City Police Department is to modify the behavior of drivers in order to make our streets safer. This effort involves not only the police department, who is charged with enforcing our traffic laws but also the city traffic engineers, who constantly review current traffic patterns and look for solutions to improve not only traffic flow but safety as well. With resources stretched to their limits many cities have begun to look to technology to assist and supplement their safety efforts. Red light camera programs are only one method that can assist in the reduction of violations and the crashes they cause. Daly City is committed to this goal through education, the application of technology and a commitment to provider our citizens with safer more efficient travel. 

Prior to commencing our automated enforcement program Daly City undertook a study of statistical information regarding collision and violation data. The study took over a year. After data was collected and analyzed, non-enforcement solutions were looked at and applied where applicable. This included something as small as repainting crosswalk markings and verifying yellow light timings to comprehensive traffic flow studies to determine the need and application of automated enforcement. The decision was made to implement automated enforcement and a well defined governed process began. 

Automated enforcement systems are well regulated by state law and have many safeguards that have been legislated in order to give the public a high level of confidence in their application. When a violation is captured all data is reviewed by the program administrator before a citation is issued.


Click to view the Red Light Contract.