Although no formal studies have been conducted, observers report a reduction in accidents and people running red lights.
In at least one university town, cameras mounted atop traffic signals are doing the job.
In Fort Collins, Colo. -- home to Colorado State University -- officials are spending nearly $500,000 a year to employ a technological advancement in police technology: cameras to snag speeders and red-light runners on film.
And it's working, said Rita Davis, executive staff project manager for Fort Collins Police Services.
The city employs a two-part approach to new technology:
- Red light cameras at the intersection of Drake Road and College Avenue, known as the most accident-prone intersection in town.
- A ``camera radar'' system, which is a mobile radar in the back of a sport utility vehicle. Speed limit compliance rates in 30 mph zones have doubled since the radar started rolling in August 1996.
Together, the systems costs $492,211 and take in $651,000. The difference is used to offset associated costs, such as the new municipal court clerks hired to take on the additional load of 2,200 tickets a month churned out by the automated cameras.
``Seventy to 80 percent of tickets are voluntarily paid, so most people support the program,'' Davis said.
``There are some people who don't support the whole nature of the program, and won't no matter what.
``We have a stronger grouping of people who support the program, be-cause the problem was great enough to support.''
Fort Collins hooked up its single intersection for red-light cameras last July.
Although no formal studies have been conducted, Davis said, occupants of businesses in the commercial area at Drake and College report a reduction in accidents and people running red lights.
-- Mark Fagan's phone message number is 832-7188. His e-mail address is firstname.lastname@example.org.