KC is set to renew red-light cameras for five years

Five years after Kansas City approved a contract to install red-light cameras, both red-light running and crashes are down at most of those intersections, police said Wednesday.

And with that evidence, the City Council’s Public Safety Committee endorsed a five-year renewal of the contract with American Traffic Solutions, the red-light camera vendor. The full council votes on the contract Thursday.

“They do change behavior,” committee chairman John Sharp said as the committee reviewed statistics on the red-light camera locations.

The contract began in June 2008 and was set to expire June 30.

The first cameras went into operation in early 2009, and ATS gradually ramped up the program throughout the city. Between 2010 and 2012, it operated 29 cameras at 17 intersections.

Close to 191,000 red-light tickets have been issued since the program began, although the number has declined substantially in the past two years as people became more aware. Citations dropped nearly 24 percent between 2010 and 2012, according to Maj. James Pruetting of the Police Department’s traffic division.

Eighty-six percent of violators received only one ticket, while 11 percent received two and 3 percent received more than two red-light tickets.

Police review potential violations before the tickets are issued. They said they reject more than 20 percent of the potential violations sent for review.

Between 2008 (before the cameras) and 2012, crashes dropped at 14 of the 17 intersections, Pruetting said. However, collisions went up at U.S. 71 and East 59th Street, at U.S. 71 and Gregory Boulevard, and at U.S. 71 and East Red Bridge Road.

Sharp and Councilman Scott Taylor noted that violations and crashes have dropped enough at some locations that the cameras could be moved to more dangerous intersections.

City and ATS officials said they are analyzing crash data to see about moving or adding cameras, but no decisions have been made.

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