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Traffic Sensors/Red Light Cameras Reprise

Discussion in 'Electronic Design' started by Rich Grise, Aug 11, 2005.

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  1. Rich Grise

    Rich Grise Guest

    [followups-to: sci.electronics.design]

    I remember some hoopla not too long ago about traffic sensors, and another
    hoopla about red-light cameras.

    The other day, I spotted this - Orange County (CA) Register, 8/8/05:*
    -----------
    Q. After being hit three times by cars running red lights, I am in favor
    of intersections being monitored by photo cameras. I want to know the
    rules. Can you still make a right turn against the red light if not
    prohibited by signage - and not get a violation sent to you? If so, how
    does the camera know if you have stopped? Also, if you're in the middle of
    the intersection waiting to make a left turn and the light turns red, will
    you be cited? - Tish Niya, Fountain Valley

    A. Five cities in the county have red-light cameras: Santa Ana, Garden
    Grove, Costa Mesa, Fullerton and San Juan Capistrano. And, no, you will
    not be cited under the conditions you mentioned. A computer, using info
    from sensors embedded inthe street, can tell that you slowed to a stop at
    the light before turning right, said Vinh Nguyen, a senior civil engineer
    with the city of Santa Ana. And the computer can tell that you entered the
    intersection before the light turned red. Plus, said City Engineer George
    Alvarez, Santa Ana police examine all the photos and would kick out any
    citation that isn't proper.
    -----------

    So, I hope that answers any nagging questions, at least for Watson
    and Guy. ;-)
    --
    Cheers!
    Rich
    * Scanned and OCR'd with my HP4600 transparent scanner and some
    OCR s/w that came with it. I only had to make about a half-dozen
    little piddly corrections. :)
     
  2. Mike

    Mike Guest

    I don't remember facts playing a role in that thread. Do you remember it
    differently?

    -- Mike --
     
  3. "Rich Grise" wrote ...
    ......
    It would be very interesting (and equally unlikely) to get an
    honest response out of them regarding yellow-light-duration
    timing. A study of the red-light cameras here in the PDX area
    revealed that the yellow-light timings were all significantly
    shorter (relative to intersection dimensions) than the ones
    with no cameras. It seems pretty clear that they are automatic
    revenue-generating devices that have little to do with public
    safety. And then there is the scandal in San Diego.
     
  4. I live in Poway, just outside San Diego. Our original red-light cameras
    were taken out when the contract expired. The old contract paid the
    contractor a portion of the proceeds, which I believe is no longer legal.

    New cameras were installed this year. I noticed that the one I go through
    on my way home had a nasty habit of going yellow after only 3 cars had
    entered the intersection when it was first set up. I think they fixed that
    by now, though.
     
  5. Thanks. One of the ladies at work (who probably wants to remain
    nameless ;-) made a right turn w/o stopping fully on a red light (not
    the green arrow) and the cameras caught her, and it cost 350 buicks(!)
    (Now why did I make that silly typo?) So yeah, the SOBs will getcha!
    And as far as the PD (especially Santa Banana) examining them, that's BS
    from what I've heard and read. The contractor does most of the
    processing, and they do make mistakes. And there have been several
    lawsuits about this 'photo enforcement' system. Read about dilemma
    zones and economic incentives here.
    http://itre.ncsu.edu/highways/download/Lifesavers2003.pdf

    I can appreciate the usefulness of this system, and the goals it can
    achieve.
    But I'm disappointed that motorists have become victims of the system,
    and have had to pay so much money for a violation. It would be much
    better if the LEAs would crack down on drunk drivers.

    Which leads into the next item. Our cow-orker bought a new motorcycle a
    few months ago, a Gold Wing, bright yellow. I kidded him a couple weeks
    ago that I was gonna get a can of black paint and paint stripes on it to
    make it look like a hornet! Last week he was going home and was stopped
    at a red light behind another car. A drunk driver rear ended him and
    knocked him off and onto the car ahead. He was in the hospital, and has
    had pins put in his leg, and surgery on both shoulders.

    They moved him to a rehab facility, and some of the others have gone
    over to see him. He has both arms immobilized because of the surgery,
    and is doped up on pain meds. At least he's alive, but it looks like it
    is a going to be a long time before he is healed up and back to work.
    One lady has already requested that workers donate vacation days to him
    so that he will have a steady paycheck coming in.

    After so much time, his benefits will run out and he won't fet full pay,
    so the district has a plan where other workers can donate their vacation
    time to another worker in need, and they will transfer the time to his
    account. One lady just came back to work after being off for almost two
    years because of cancer. We're really glad to see her back; we didn't
    think she'd ever make it.

    The guy's motorcycle is totalled, and I hope that he decides to give
    that up when he's back. One other guy just bought a motorcycle after
    not having one for several years. I think the high price of gas has
    caused some people to decide on saving money by riding a motorcycle, but
    it's really scary with all the traffic, especially on the freeways.
     
  6. Jim Thompson

    Jim Thompson Guest

    On Wed, 10 Aug 2005 23:34:39 -0700, "Watson A.Name - \"Watt Sun, the

    [snip]
    [snip]

    Interesting stuff. !

    With the proliferation of red-light cameras around Phoenix and suburbs
    I've been contemplating building some test equipment that would plug
    into several laptops to measure light timing.

    I say "several" laptops, because I'm thinking of 4 observers connected
    by RF link so a quick "survey" can be made and get out of there before
    interruption by authorities.

    I bet I could make a bundle doing red-light expert witness stuff for
    lawyers ;-)

    ...Jim Thompson
     

  7. Is it illegal to document traffic light patterns in Arizona?
     
  8. Unless you can do it from private property, with the property owner's
    permission, they could probably find something if they wanted to.


    Best regards,
    Spehro Pefhany
     
  9. Jim Thompson

    Jim Thompson Guest

    The police in Mesa, Arizona, are pretty close to Gestapo in behavior,
    and Chandler is home to the cop who shot a woman in the back, killing
    her, for trying to pass a forged prescription for pain medication :-(

    ...Jim Thompson
     
  10. Ken Moffett

    Ken Moffett Guest

    I always count to two before I pull away from a green light in the Twin
    Cities. The red light runners are that frequent. Minneapolis recently
    instituted camera-cops at several intersections. Among the thousands of
    warnings (first month) and citations were 14 police vehicles. AHHH...there
    is some small justice in the world.
     
  11. Okay, but if you're in front of me and not moving, for no good reason,
    when the light changes I count to 0.5 before I blow the horn the first
    time, and 0.5 more for the second time, and 0.25 for the third time.
    Yeah, you have to watch out for those idiots. I tend to prefer looking
    each way as the opposing light turns yellow, since I've seen guys sail
    through a light that's been red for 5 seconds (asleep? engrossed in a
    cellphone conversation? high on drugs?).
    LOL.


    Best regards,
    Spehro Pefhany
     
  12. Ken Moffett

    Ken Moffett Guest

    I didn't say I didn't move, I just don't pull into the intersection
    without a pause. Never had a honker behind me.

    It does seem that the first person at the stop light falls asleep
    frequently. My daughter says that these people are so close to the light
    that their peripheral vision doesn't catch the light change. And they'er
    the first in line so they don't have to wait for anybody and will always
    make it through even the short left turn lighs. At this point I do honk.
     
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