Masters Thesis

Bakersfield's red light photo enforcement system: an analysis of cost-effective alternatives

In 2003, the red light photo enforcement system was implemented in Bakersfield under the supervision of the Bakersfield Police Department, thereby enacting a system to deter red light running and the subsequent intersection collisions. Although the system has been able to deter collisions related to red light running at the eight various intersections in Bakersfield, the cost-effectiveness of the system is in question. The Red Light Photo Enforcement system is intended to deter red light running, reduce right-angle crashes (T-bone crashes), and increase protection of innocent passengers and pedestrians; however, taking into consideration the high cost of the Redflex photo enforcement system, the insufficient net revenue amount, and the increased costs of future additions, the City of Bakersfield would benefit the most from a more cost-effective traffic collision mitigation system. The purpose of this policy analysis is to examine two policy alternatives to Bakersfield’s existing red light photo enforcement system and determine which one (or more) could best provide an effective intersection collision mitigation system at the lowest cost. This policy analysis analyzes the following two alternatives: (1) increase the yellow-light interval and (2) increase the all-red clearance interval. Choosing the best alternative(s) will have a significant impact on the City of Bakersfield by implementing a more cost-effective way to reduce red light running and intersection collisions; in turn, providing additional monies to be used in critical areas of the Bakersfield Police Department. The recommendation of this policy analysis is to increase the yellow-light interval as well as the all-red clearance interval and to discontinue Bakersfield’s red light photo enforcement system. It is recommended that both the yellow-light interval and the all-red clearance interval be increased by one second. The process of choosing the best alternative(s) and cost-effective strategy is based on making sure the final selection(s) meet the criteria of efficiency, reliability, feasibility, and effectiveness.

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