A new report from Chicago's inspector general finds safety might not be the city's main goal when picking the locations of red light cameras. In some cases, the report finds, it's not clear why certain spots were chosen.
The report, by Inspector General Joe Ferguson, says the Chicago Department of Transportation couldn't substantiate claims that red light cameras were placed at "intersections with the highest angle crash rates in order to increase safety."
Some camera-protected intersections, the report finds, have no recent angle crashes and the cameras haven't been moved to reflect that. Since the program started in 2003, the city relocated 10 cameras from five intersections out of a total of 384 cameras at 190 locations, according to the report.
“The city cannot effectively manage its programs unless it measures its programs,” Ferguson said in a statement. “In addition to finding that the City cannot prove [red-light camera] installation locations are based on safety considerations, we discovered a striking lack of basic recordkeeping and analysis for this $70 million program.”
According to the report, the program made $61 million in 2012.
The report calls on Chicago to establish clear criteria about locating and moving the cameras and to retain records and documentation of the process for each location.
In response, CDOT said it is committed to the effective management of the program and noted a majority of the locations were chosen five or more years ago, during the previous administration when none of the current CDOT leadership was in place.