About the research
Crashes related to traffic signal violations, or red light running, account for more than 800 deaths and thousands of injuries each year in the United States. This research study, a cooperative effort between the Iowa Department of Transportation and the Center for Transportation Research and Education at Iowa State University, reviewed red light running reduction studies and programs nationwide, examined the scope of this phenomenon in Iowa, and proposed countermeasures to address significant violation problems.
A three-phased effort was conducted to evaluate the scope and impact of traffic signal violations in Iowa: (1) field observations, (2) crash analysis, and (3) surveys. Using specialized video cameras, observations were made at selected signalized intersections in several cities across the state. Iowa?s extensive crash records system was also reviewed for data relating actual intersection crashes to signal violations over recent years of record. In addition, surveys were conducted to determine the perceived impact of signal violations by several specific groups and the public in the state. Also included is a discussion of possible initiatives to address traffic signal violations in locations where incidence is determined to warrant focused response. Possible steps include raising public awareness through information and education campaigns, updated traffic signal equipment and improved operations, and focused law enforcement effort, including the use of automated enforcement equipment. As part of the literature review, three types of enforcement equipment in prevalent use were identified?wet film, digital image, and video. Discussion of each, with description of advantages and disadvantages, is included in the report.