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Red Light Cameras

Red-light running has been one of the most tragic traffic offenses that have caused a lot of fatalities all over the developed countries. There have been numerous instances that cars have crossed the intersection after the red light is on, thus causing vehicle and motorbike crashes that have led to losses in property and increased medical expenses. Red light camera systems, a computer technology that evolved from the 20th century but has grown in popularity in the last few decades, has posed to be one of the most effective solutions of red-light running. The system has three main components, including the triggers, camera, and the computer, which effectively record instances of red-light running, thus improving traffic safety.

The red light camera system is mainly composed of three components starting from the triggers, the camera, and the computer, which is the central controller of the whole system. The triggers are the sensing part of the system, which mainly detect a car or vehicle after it has passed over them in its perimeter. The information is then transmitted to the computer, which acts as the brain of the system. It is mainly tasked with giving commands to the whole system so that it can work as a unit. After the triggers have sent information to the computer, the cameras are commanded to take footage of the occurrence. The footage is then sent to the company that has been contracted to monitor the surveillance of the system, which then analyzes the information and sends feedback to the owners and the related authorities.  The cameras are strategically positioned to take either a video or a photo before the vehicle drives to the intersection when the red light is on and seconds after it has moved to the intersection. The primary data collected by the system include the time, date, the speed of the car, the location of the intersection, and time that elapsed between when the traffic light is turning red and the vehicle getting to the intersection.

Due to the evolution of technology, there have been different systems components in the red light camera system, some of which are effective while others are inefficient. For example, different types of triggers are used, including the induction loop trigger, air-tube sensors, video loop, and the radar. The most commonly used is the induction loop trigger, which is mainly composed of electrical wires connected to a meter but strategically placed below the asphalt on the road to sense when a car is passing over it and sending triggers to the computer. The video loop is the most current system coming to market with the main advantage being one can easily adjust the trigger areas over time (Goldenbeld et al., 2019). Due to the improvements in technology, digital cameras are being used in the place of film cameras since photographs and videos that have been produced are more clear thus more effective in their use. Since the photographs are to be used to prosecute traffic offenders, their clarity of the pictures by digital camera devices is more workable and offers better evidence.

The development and the continued use of red light camera systems have proved to be useful in reducing traffic accidents, thus reducing the total cost of the losses that the accidents cause. The use of the technology though effective, has done away with some jobs, including the traffics officers, but at the same time creating more employment for the innovators and the producers of the cameras. Since it enhances surveillance at intersections, it has exposed careless drivers to fines if they are caught bridging the traffic rules. My wife was once involved in a red camera alert traffic crime which we were forced to pay off the fines sent to us via email. I however think the red light camera system are just meant to make money unlike to provide traffic etiquette. Police officers can do the job better as the systems only capture accidental errors unlike the police who could have noticed other traffic offenses like drug trafficking. The use of red-light cameras exposes some traffic offenders but does not affect their privacy since the photographs and the details are taken by the system are analyzed and send directly to ones email, thus limiting public exposure (Goldenbeld et al., 2019). The technology has enhanced prudent application to traffic offenders since it captures the exact events, and the victim is allowed to appeal if they were not the ones in possession of the car at that time. I am confident that there is going to be enhanced research and innovation that will improve the efficiency of the use of technology to improve its accuracy, reliability, cost-effectiveness, and accountability.

Conclusively, red light cameras are a unique innovation that has played a crucial role in enhancing traffic order and reducing cases of road accidents, especially around intersections. Most of its components have been improved with time, thus increasing its reliability and usage. The use of digital cameras and video loops enhances the accuracy of the data collection, thus its efficiency. The application of technology has also helped in cutting down costs caused by accidents, thus making it more economical. Besides the fact it might have reduced the number of traffic officers manning intersections, it has created more jobs within the technology and engineering fields. Its use, therefore, will be of significant use with future developments needed to enhance its efficiency

Reference

Goldenbeld, C., Daniels, S., & Schermers, G. (2019). Red light cameras revisited. Recent evidence on red light camera safety effects. Accident Analysis & Prevention, 128, 139-147. https://doi.org/10.1016/j.aap.2019.04.007

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