500 Cities and Growing: A Closer Look at the Communities Leading the Traffic Safety Revolution in North America
Every city, large and small, struggles with traffic issues, including congested roadways, speeding, dangerous driving or chronic red-light running. These unsafe environments and behaviors can lead to motor vehicle crashes that cause thousands of deaths and injuries, and cost billions of dollars in property damage. In 2016, motor vehicle-related deaths in the United States reached their highest point since 2007, causing as many as 40,000 deaths and costing American families more than $430 billion according to Fortune. To reverse this trend, cities across North America are harnessing the newest innovations in traffic safety technology in a bid to aid traffic enforcement, including two notable communities in Canada. Combined with some good old-fashioned police work and responsible city governance, the traffic safety technologies in Calgary, AB, and Vancouver, BC are yielding life-saving results. As a leader in traffic safety technology, Redflex has partnered with more than 500 communities across the Americas to improve road safety using innovative solutions to protect lives, reduce injuries and save public dollars. Advanced Traffic Technology Reforms Driving Behavior in Calgary After city government officials in Calgary, Canada heard consistent complaints about traffic issues, they took action and held traffic meetings in every city ward where citizens could voice concerns about specific intersections in their neighborhoods. The city made crosswalk enhancements, reviewed traffic controls and added bright yellow, oval-shaped “traffic calming curbs” to slow down speeders at busy intersections. In 2001, the city also partnered with Redflex to implement a network of intersection safety cameras – both red-light cameras and speed-on-green cameras – across the city. After more than a decade of using this innovative traffic enforcement, drivers developed more positive driving behaviors as a response to the deterrent. In 2015, the busiest intersection in the city experienced a decline in speeding violations for three straight years. Red-light running and speed-on-green violations citywide declined as well, according to both the Calgary Herald and the Calgary Sun. Combating Notoriously Dangerous Intersections in Vancouver Meanwhile, in Vancouver, home to some of the busiest traffic intersections in British Columbia, a combination of rapid development in nearby communities, high volume of pedestrian and cycling traffic, and poor organization of roadways has exacerbated some of the worst bottlenecks in the province according to CBC News. To tackle the growing issue, police and city officials are using data from Redflex’s red-light cameras to assess and address flaws inherent in the layout of the busiest intersections. At intersections along one of the most congested areas of the city, there were twice as many violations at one end of the street than at other places on the same street. After analyzing differences among these intersections, transportation officials found that the most congested intersection did not have a dedicated left-turn lane. At other locations, officials noted that more dangerous intersections did not meet at perfect right angles, increasing the risk of driver error. In these cases, data collected from red-light traffic cameras played an integral part in planning safer roads for pedestrians, cyclists and drivers alike, according to the Vancouver Sun. The next generation of public safety products is here, and these innovations are working to make the roads safer for everyone. As communities across the Americas continue to face growing traffic problems, these technologies will be there to meet the demand for smart traffic solutions. Redflex will continue to play a critical role in shaping the development of these solutions now and into the future.