• Arne Mortensen

Red Light Cameras

February 2011

Red light cameras

Red light cameras, a hot local topic, are another government activity performed for your own good. Yet red light cameras do not help the fundamental flow of traffic; however, it does further the government's grip upon us. Instead of red light cameras, let's consider better traffic management. Of course, improved traffic will not give the government direct revenue; therefore, we can expect resistance from the government. Focus on better traffic management helps citizens live more productively, and thus improvements carry considerable positive leverage. Consider the fabulous technological advancements over the last 50 years and then consider how much our traffic signals have changed over that time period; they haven’t. For example, making the left from 15th Street onto Tennant Way is subject to a ridiculous light which means that people often wait more than one light cycle to transit or they avoid the light by going through a private parking lot and onto 14th street. Then, what sense does it make to sit at a red light when there is absolutely no cross traffic within sight? Why are lights driven by "blind" timers? Why are the timers set as if every day and every traffic hour are alike? Why do motorcycles and bicycles fail to activate traffic signals? Why do signals not clear intersections in advance along a path for the occasional emergency vehicle? Etc.

We can buy Wii and other game systems that "see" what we are doing, but we can’t get government to make traffic lights smart and adaptive. It is not a lack of technology; it is a lack of vision and a conflict of direct interest. Red light cameras chiefly are about revenue and control, not public service.

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