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Red-Light Camera - Engineering Malpractice

Updated: Oct 20, 2023



From engineering malpractice comes red-light cameras. Every where you see a camera, whether in the USA, Europe, Asia or Australia, the cameras exist solely to exploit the pseudo-science traffic engineers use to set the duration of the yellow traffic signal light. These misapplications of math and physics systematically short the yellow light duration, literally forcing drivers to run red lights. The calculations neither give drivers the distance to comfortably stop nor the time to reach the intersection. When you drive, eventually you will have to run a red light, even if the infraction is by a split second.


Over ninety-five countries around the world use the Institute of Transportation Engineers' yellow change interval practice. The practice includes a math formula and two variables. One inputs the variables, called "human factors", into the formula. The algebra and the values engineers use for the variables are wrong.

The algebra of the math works only for a specific case of traffic approaching an intersection, not all cases. But traffic engineers apply the algebra to all cases, as if one size fits all. The algebra dates back to 1965. The inventors of the formula (Gazis, Herman and Maradudin) explicitly restricted the use of their formula to unimpeded thru-movements: When the driver is too close to the intersection to comfortably stop, the algebra requires drivers to go at least the speed limit without slowing down all the way into the intersection. If the driver fits this condition, the driver can legally navigate the intersection. If the driver has to slow down to turn or avoid some obstacle on route into the intersection, the algebra forces the driver to run a red light. The algebra does not describe the physics where objects slow down. The algebra shorts the amount of yellow light time required for the driver to traverse the distance to the intersection, causing the driver to run a red light. The driver has no choice. The conflict is so bad in some situations, the algebra results in crashes. The red-light camera industry is all about exploiting these situations.

The engineer sets the variables to value which accommodate drivers who react and stop faster than the "average" passenger vehicle on dry pavement. Less than half the driving population fits this accommodation. Engineers deliberately neglect over half the driving population, forcing them to run red lights. The wrong algebra and the misuse of "average" values are called "misapplications of the mathematical and physical sciences." Using "average" as an input when "all" human drivers is required, is specifically called a "misapplication of stochastic methods."


Engineering Malpractice


State statutes and/or regulations define "engineering practice" as "the application of the mathematical and physical sciences." In contrast, the yellow change interval practice is misapplications of the mathematical and physical sciences. By legal definition, the yellow change interval practice is engineering malpractice. Federal and state law require the yellow change interval to be determined by engineering practices. MUTCD 4D.26(3). While the ITE yellow change interval practice is the standard of care in the traffic engineering field, the standard of care departs from the minimum standard required under engineering practice law.


Statutes require an engineering practice to safeguard the life, health, property and welfare of the public.


Therefore every yellow-light duration is unlawful. Because red-light camera systems are dependent systems relying on properly-set yellows, by the principles of systems engineering, the red-light camera systems are also engineering malpractice.


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