I offer these services to promote the fairness of photo enforcement. Given the controversy over such systems, wise governments and attorneys should consider whether photo enforcement improves safety or grabs money. My services provide the answers and the solutions. My hope is that governments will correct their engineering problems and that attorneys will litigate effectively against governments that insist on creating criminals and crashes for a profit.
Red Light Camera Consultations
15 red-light cameras will ticket 150,000 people in about 8 years (Cary, North Carolina). Are 150,000 people really criminals? If cameras change driver behavior as promised, then once a camera is up, why does it never come down? Why doesn't red-light running decrease?
There is one reason. A simple reason. Traffic engineers make drivers run red lights. Drivers are not the ones at fault. Engineers are. Drivers cannot prevent themselves from running red lights. It's a physics thing. There are physics errors with the traffic signal timing which literally force drivers to run red lights. The largest errors come from a pseudo-science practice called the Institute of Transportation Engineer's (ITE) yellow change interval practice. The math of this practice always shorts the yellow light causing unintentional red-light running and crashes. (Cities do not have to further shorten yellows. The yellow lights are already short.)
Red-light camera companies, the municipalities who partner with them, and the Insurance Institute of Highway Safety (IIHS) make hundreds of millions of dollars from these engineering errors. The RLC companies and IIHS seek to solicit as many municipalities as they can under the guise of safety. City councils, oblivious to the engineering malpractice, are easily coerced into the scheme.
Once a city council adopts a red-light camera program, it takes a few years for the statistics to come in. The statistics reveal that the cameras do not work. Red-light running goes on as before. Crashes go on as before. However by this time, the city council has become addicted to the revenue. To justify collecting more money as well as to save face, the city council will conceal the bad statistics, and will falsely attribute any positive safety results to the cameras although interim improvements to the traffic signal timing were responsible.
Red-light cameras are not about safety. They are about grabbing money. Traffic engineers cause at least 99.98% of red-light runners. About 70% of red-light running occurs within 1 second after the light turns red. That amount of time is so short that a human eye cannot discern whether the vehicle actually ran a red light. No policeman would issue a ticket. But without punishing imperceptible violations, the red-light camera industry would go belly-up.
Speed Camera Consultations
Speed cameras, though well-intentioned, exploit the gap between engineering practice of setting speed limits and the arbitrary speed limits found in the city ordinances. Even the engineering practice itself has systematic errors and omissions which conflict with reasonable driving.
Bus Stop-Arm Consultations
Bus stop-arm cameras discourage drivers from passing a school bus when its stop-arm is extended. Stop-arm cameras do have good intentions, yet here are a few of the problems:
The accuser neither has proof that the bus is properly marked nor that the bus driver stopped in conformance to law. Because of lack of evidence and eyewitness, Suffolk County, New York lost People v. Croce.
Drivers have difficulty obeying a bus's stop sign when bus drivers put up a sign while coming to a stop, or on roadways with high speed limits, or on highways with several lanes in each direction.
There can be a problem with the duration of time the bus's yellow lights flash. A driver may not be able to stop given the duration of the yellow lights.
Injuries involving school buses is extremely exaggerated by stop-arm camera companies. It is truly false advertising. This report from the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) sets the record straight. Over 70% of injuries are caused by the bus driver, and there is only 1 fatality per state per 20 years.
Attorneys retain me as an expert, usually class actions or suits against parties complicit in red light camera photo enforcement. My service includes research specific to the case, affidavits, depositions and court appearances. I opine on the standard of care, engineering practice, physics and legal requirements of professional engineering, and the engineering malpractice reasons why the photo-enforcement devices appeared at the specific locations.
Red Light Camera Analysis
Given red-light camera raw event data and the traffic signal plans at red-light camera intersections, I can evaluate which intersections have the most engineering problems. For example, in the histogram above, one identifies the failure in the yellow light math equation for left-turn lanes. (The red and yellow mountains are left turn red-light runners. The blue hill is thru-lane red-light runners.)
Most engineering companies do before-and-after studies. The studies evaluate crash rates before and after cameras were installed. These reports do not follow the scientific method. Their conclusions are always specious. The reports start with the hypothesis that bad driving causes crashes. The studies conclude that the cameras do not prevent crashes, which means that the hypothesis must be invalid. The scientific method would demand that the authors reevaluate their hypothesis, but the authors never do. The authors continue to assume that drivers are to blame. These reports do not apply the most basic principle of science--the scientific method--and therefore all these reports are engineering malpractice.
The fact is that crashes are the result of bad engineering, not bad driving.
Speed Camera Research Report
Given engineering speed studies on a stretch of road, one knows what the speed limit is supposed to be set to for that stretch of road at the particular time of day when the study was conducted. If speed studies were not done, I will do them.
By engineering definition, a proper speed limit is the 85th percentile speed of free-flowing traffic. The bigger the gap between posted speed limit and the 85th percentile speed means the bigger the speed trap. Here are a just a few of the gaps:
The 85th percentile speed changes during a 24 hour period.
The 85th percentile speed changes from the bottom of a hill to the top of a hill.
A city ordinance's speed limit differs from 85th percentile speed limit.
Setting speed limits has never been an exact science. Engineers never meant for speed limits to be enforced with the precision of speed cameras.