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Prepared by: Kristopher Ackerson, Asst. Transportation Planner, and Eric Goers, Asst. City Attorney, 410 E.
Washington Street, Iowa City, IA 52240; 319 -356 -5247, and 319 -356 -5030 respectively
12 - 4466





1, "








WHEREAS, the City of Iowa City is vested with home rule authority pursuant to Article III,
Section 38A of the Iowa Constitution and Chapter 364 of the Code of Iowa; and

the City of Iowa City is located in a high- density traffic area and regularly

experiences traffic incidents related to the failure of motorists to obey duly erected traffic control

devices, exposing its citizens to the dangers of personal injury and property damage; and WHEREAS, the City is concerned with the violation of State statues concerning traffic signals,
specifically the failure of motorists to stop at red lights and obey ' no turn on red signs;' and

apprehending motorists who fail to obey traffic control devices through law

enforcement observance, chase, and citation is difficult, dangerous, and expensive and requires

the City to commit additional personnel that would not be necessary with the use of automated
traffic infraction detectors with image capture technologies ( i. e., red -light cameras); and

local governments in different parts of the State of Iowa and nation have demonstrated that the combination of traffic infraction detectors with traditional traffic law
enforcement methods enhances vehicular and pedestrian safety; and

WHEREAS, automated traffic enforcement laws are authorized both by Iowa home rule and the Iowa Supreme Court, in City of Davenport v. Seymour, 755 N.W.2d 533 ( Iowa 2008), all of which recognize the rights of municipalities to utilize traffic infraction detectors to regulate
municipal traffic; and

WHEREAS, the City of Iowa City finds that implementation of the enforcement program set forth
in this ordinance will promote, protect, and improve the health, safety, and welfare of its citizens

consistent with the authority of and limitations on the City pursuant to case law, the Constitution
of the State of Iowa, and the Code of Iowa.



SECTION I. AMENDMENTS Title 9, " Motor Vehicles and Traffic ", Chapter 1, " Definitions, Administration and Enforcement of Traffic Provisions ", Section 1, " Definitions" is amended by adding the following defined terms:


automated traffic enforcement system.

A notice of fine generated in connection with the



12 - 4466 --



with the Automated Traffic Enforcement System.

The company or entity, if

any, with which the City of Iowa City contracts equipment and /or services in connection
3. AUTOMATED TRAFFIC ENFORCEMENT SYSTEM: An electronic system consisting of

a photographic, video, or electronic camera and a vehicle sensor installed to work in

conjunction with an official traffic controller or police department employee to

automatically produce photographs, video or digital images of each vehicle violating a

standard traffic control device or speed restriction.
4. VEHICLE OWNER: The person or entity identified by the Iowa Department of Transportation, or registered with any other state vehicle registration office, as the
registered owner of a vehicle.

Title 9, " Motor Vehicles and Traffic ", Chapter 11, " Automated Traffic Enforcement" is added as
follows: 1.

General. The City of Iowa City, in accordance with its police powers, may deploy, erect

or cause to have erected an automated traffic enforcement system for making video images of vehicles that fail to obey red light traffic signals at intersections designated by the city manager, or a designee. The systems may be managed by the private contractor that owns and operates

the requisite equipment with supervisory, control vested in the city's police department. Video
images shall be provided to the police department by the contractor for review. The police
department will determine which vehicle owners are in violation of the city's traffic control
ordinances and are to receive a notice of violation for the offense.

Vehicle Owner's Civil Liability for Certain Traffic Offenses.


The Vehicle Owner shall be liable for a fine if such a vehicle crosses a marked

stop line or the intersection plane at a system location when the traffic signal for that
vehicle's direction is emitting a steady red light or arrow.

The violation may be exempted from liability as outlined below in section 5 of this

chapter, and other defenses may be considered in connection with the appeal process.

In no event will an Automated Traffic Citation be sent or reported to the Iowa Department of Transportation or similar department of any other state for the purpose of being added to the Vehicle Owner's driving record.
Notice of Violation; Fine.



Notice of the violation will be mailed to the Vehicle Owner for each violation

recorded by an Automated Traffic Enforcement System or traffic control signal monitoring device. The Automated Traffic Enforcement Contractor shall mail the notice within 30 days after receiving information about the Vehicle Owner. The notice shall
include the name and address of the Vehicle Owner; the vehicle make, if available and

readily discernable, and registration number; the violation charged; the time; the date;
and the location of the alleged violation; the applicable fine and monetary penalty which
shall be assessed for late payment; information as to the availability of an administrative

hearing in which the notice may be contested on its merits; and that the basis of the
notice is a photographic record obtained by an Automated Traffic Enforcement System.



12 - 4466


Vehicle Owner in an amount set by City Council by resolution, payable to the City of
Iowa City.

Any violation of section 2 of this chapter shall result in a civil fine issued to the

Contesting an Automated Traffic Citation. A Vehicle Owner who has been issued an

Automated Traffic Citation may contest the citation as follows:

By submitting, in a form specified by the City, a request for an administrative

hearing to be held at the Iowa City Police Department before an administrative appeals board ( the " Board ") consisting of one or more impartial fact finders. Such a request must be filed within 30 days of the date on which Notice of the violation is sent to the Vehicle

Owner. After a hearing, the Board may either uphold or dismiss the Automated Traffic
Citation and shall mail its written decision within 10 days after the hearing to the address

provided on the request for hearing. If the citation is upheld, then the Board shall include in its written decision a date by which the fine must be paid, and on or before that date the Vehicle Owner shall either pay the fine or submit a request for a judicial hearing
pursuant to section 4( B) of this chapter.

Automated Traffic Citation, a municipal infraction citation be issued and filed with the Small Claims Division of the Iowa District Court in Johnson County. Such a request must be filed within 30 days from the date on which Notice of the violation is sent to the Vehicle Owner. Such a request will result in a court order requiring the Vehicle Owner to

By submitting, in a form specified by the City, a request that in lieu of the

file an answer and appearance with the Clerk of Court, as well as setting the matter for trial before a judge or magistrate. If the Court finds the Vehicle Owner guilty of the municipal infraction, state mandated court costs will be added to the amount of the fine
imposed by this chapter.

Exceptions to Owner Liability. There shall be no liability pursuant to this chapter if:
The operator of the vehicle in question was issued a uniform traffic citation for the violation in question pursuant to Title 9 of the Iowa City Code or Iowa Code Chapter 321
2011) as amended; or B.

The violation occurred at any time after the vehicle in question or its state

registration plates were reported to a law enforcement agency as having been stolen, provided, however, the vehicle or its plates had not been recovered by the Vehicle
Owner at the time of the alleged violation; or

The vehicle in question was an authorized emergency vehicle; or

The officer inspecting the recorded image determines that the vehicle in question
The officer inspecting the recorded image determines.that the vehicle in question

was lawfully participating in a funeral procession; or


reasonably entered the intersection in order to yield the right -of way to an emergency

Ordinance Page


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Failure to Timely Pay or Appeal. If the recipient of an Automated Traffic Citation does

not either pay the fine by the due date stated in the citation or appeal the citation as provided herein, late fees may be assessed, as approved by City Council through resolution, and /or a municipal infraction citation may be filed by the Iowa City Police Department and a fine may be sought in accordance with Iowa City Code Title 1, Chapter 4, Section 2( B), Violations, Penalties
and Alternative Relief, rather than section 3 above. If the Court finds the Vehicle Owner guilty of the municipal infraction, State mandated court costs will be added to the amount of the fine
imposed by this section.

All ordinances and parts of ordinances in conflict with the provision of this Ordinance are hereby repealed.

SECTION III. SEVERABILITY. If any section, provision or part of the Ordinance shall be adjudged to be invalid or unconstitutional, such adjudication shall not affect the validity of the Ordinance as a whole or any section, provision or part thereof not adjudged invalid or unconstitutional.
SECTION IV. EFFECTIVE DATE. This Ordinance shall be effective upon publication.

Passed and approved this 21st day of

February ,


AAA 44fl

Approved by

City Attorney's Office

Ordinance No.

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It was moved by


and seconded by


that the

Ordinance as read be adopted, and upon roll call there were:





Dobyns Hayek

x x



First Consideration


10/ 2012

Vote for passage:









Second Consideration

1/ 24/ 2012
None. Hayek, Mims, Dickens.




Date published

5/ 1/ 2012






February 8, 2012
Tom Markus, City Manager Geoff Fruin, Assistant to the City Manager
Sam Hargadine, Police Chief



John Yapp, Transportation Planner 7Y! Y,"


Responses to questions regarding red light running cameras

Following are responses to questions regarding red light running cameras submitted by
Councilors Throgmorton and Payne.

Information in this memorandum was compiled with input

from a variety of City Staff.


Where is Iowa City Government currently using cameras to monitor activity in

outdoor public areas?

The City currently uses dozens of cameras for surveillance purposes. Listed below is a synopsis
on how our various departments utilize cameras for monitoring and /or investigative purposes.
Police Department 1 camera per squad car

The Police Department utilizes in squad car cameras that are activated by officers when they
initiate the vehicle' s lights and sirens. The cameras record the officer's interaction with a

suspect, victim or witness on the scene during an incident. The video is recorded for potential
use as evidence or to aid in further investigations. The department also monitors closed circuit

cameras in a number of other facilities, including City Hall, the Police Substation, and Police
Evidence Room. The Police Department further monitor cameras for some of the facilities listed

below under the heading of separate departments.

The Police Department also has access to State owned cameras on 1 - 80. These cameras can

be viewed by Police Department personnel for the purposes of monitoring incidents on the

Transit Division 162 cameras

The Transit Division has 6 cameras in each of its twenty seven buses. These cameras include audio recording and are used to control and investigate behavioral related incidents on the

Parks and Recreation 28 cameras

The Parks and Recreation Department has 16 cameras at the Mercer facility and 12 at the

Robert A. Lee facility. These cameras record activity inside the building and are used to monitor activity and use in investigations of incidents in these facilities. These cameras can be monitored by the Police Department.

Library 26 cameras

The Library has a security system with 26 cameras. The cameras capture activity within the
building as well as at entrances and in the back alleyway.
Public Works 17 cameras

The Water Division uses 17 security cameras to monitor activity on their grounds including both
indoor and outdoor spaces. The cameras have full pan /tilt/zoom ability and are also tied into in
an infrared motion detection system. The Streets division has 229 cameras installed at traffic signals to detect vehicles and actuate the signals. These area low resolution cameras ( they

essentially function as motion detectors) not suited for conversion to use as red light cameras.
Fire Department - 1 camera

The Fire Department has one surveillance camera that monitors activity at Station 1 in Downtown. It is monitored by the Police Department.
Airport cameras pending

The Airport recently received a state ( Iowa Department of Transportation) grant for the

installation of security cameras on its grounds. Staff is working on a plan that would monitor the coded entry gates and potentially the parking lot and aircraft apron. The Airport also hosts a
webcam that spans the aircraft apron.

Parking Division cameras


The Parking Division is currently working with ITS staff and the Police Department to place
cameras at the entrance and exit lanes of the parking decks and around the automated
payment equipment. The cameras will monitor incidents as well as allow staff to provide remote

customer assistance for patrons having trouble with the payment equipment.

Plans are also

being considered for the use of cameras in the elevators and stair towers in the deck facilities. The Parking Division is also evaluating the use of license plate recognition software for parking
enforcement purposes. This vehicle mounted technology is becoming increasingly common as it allows for more efficient enforcement of parking regulations both in decked facilities and on the

Pedestrian Mall 8 private cameras

There are eight privately owned cameras that record activity in and around the pedestrian mall. These cameras were installed by individual businesses and the Downtown Association. The
Police Department has access to the web server that stores the recordings and often utilizes the
footage for investigative purposes.

In addition to the current uses outlined above, the City is currently planning for upgrades and
additional uses of cameras for surveillance purposes. The ITS and Police Department are

working jointly on a camera system upgrade that will improve quality and allow for the digital recording of images. This system would enhance cameras noted in the above -mentioned public
facilities and would expand surveillance to the Airport and parking deck structures.

2. Does the possible use of red light cameras at intersections raise any important legal
questions about which we should be aware? This question has two parts:

I am disturbed by the time gap between the moment a vehicle passes through a red light and when the owner of the vehicle receives a notice of violation and fine in the mail. When I imagine myself receiving a notice in the mail 3 or 4 weeks after I pass through a red light, I suspect I would not be able to remember the event and hence have virtually no grounds to object or appeal. Does this raise legal questions ( e. g., The Iowa
proposed ordinance is based is legal.

due process) that we should be aware of before making a decision? No. Supreme Court has already held the automatic traffic enforcement system on which our

See generally, City of Davenport v. Seymour, 755

N. W.2d 533 ( Iowa 2008). The citation in the Davenport case was issued 19 days after the

incident. The vast majority of legal cases feature a delay of greater than 3 -4 weeks between
incident and legal action. This is true both of civil and criminal matters.

Of course, with the

criminal system come greater protections for the criminal defendant, due to the potential

one year after the crime, and the filing of the charge may be the first notice a defendant has
that he is accused of doing anything illegal. More serious charges can be filed two years

loss of liberty. Simple misdemeanor charges can be filed against a criminal defendant up to
after the crime, with yet more serious crimes carrying a statute of limitation of 10 years or
even up to the lifetime of the defendant. In the civil arena, the statute of limitations ( the

deadline by which legal action must be filed) ranges, depending on the cause of action, from
one year to fifteen years.

In summary, a 3 -4 week delay between violation and citation would not violate the legal rights of anyone involved.
importance than the civil penalty contemplated here.

Nearly all of those civil actions relate to matters of far greater

transgression) and the owner of the car (who receives the fine). It seems to me that

I am disturbed by the disconnect between the driver of the vehicle (who commits the
equal protection, or other legal issues about which we should be aware?
No. It is a

the fines should be charged to the driver, not the owner. Does this raise due process,

long- standing proposition that the owner of property can be held liable for what others
as parking tickets), the most apt example is found in Iowa' s Motor Vehicle statute. "[

borrowing the property do with it. While there are numerous common examples of this ( such

I] n all

cases where damage is done by any motor vehicle by reason of negligence of the driver, and driven with the consent of the owner, the owner of the motor vehicle shall be liable for
such damage."

Iowa Code Section 321. 493. More specific to automatic traffic enforcement,

the supreme courts of several other states and federal appellate courts have upheld
automatic enforcement systems in the face of the challenges you mention. See, e. g., ldris

v. City of Chicago, 552 F. 3d 564 ( 7th Cir. 2009); Agomo v. Fenty, 916 A.2d 181 ( D. C. App.

The vehicle' s owner would have the legal right to recover the civil penalty from the

actual driver.

3: What precisely is the problem that red light cameras at intersections would solve?
Have other alternative solutions been considered? Is there scholarly and profession literature on the topic about which we should be aware?

The purpose of camera enforcement at intersections is to increase compliance of traffic laws at


Other communities in Iowa that have employed camera enforcement have found
This has the effect of

decreased collisions and associated damage and injuries.


decreasing the amount of time and resources necessary to enforce and respond to collisions at

The collision and traffic volume data staff provided for ten intersections in Iowa City provided a
snapshot of information it

is too small a sample size to draw statistical conclusions from.

around 21 %, over time....


Iowa Center for Transportation Research and Education, as part of their study of the

effectiveness of red light running enforcement programs in Iowa, found that the " ratio of red light
injury crashes at of red light running fatal- and major -injury crashes to fatal- and major -

running to total crashes [ in Iowa] has stayed fairly constant,

the ratio

signalized intersections has also remained constant over time at about 35 percent" ( CTRE, Effectiveness of Iowa's Automated Red Light Running Enforcement Programs, 2007).


In comparing Iowa City' s percentage of red light running collisions to the state -wide average, We city -wide the percentage of collisions due to red light running is 5% of total collisions. believe this is due to Iowa City already having implemented many of the `best practices' used to
mitigate collisions due to red light running, including:

Adequate Yellow phases for traffic signals of between 3 and 4. 5 seconds,

industry best practices


An all -red clearance phase at intersections, used to allow clearing of the intersection
before the next Green phase of the signal

Implementation of countdown pedestrian signals, implemented for the benefit of

pedestrians, but also used by motorists to know how long the remainder of the Green
phase is when approaching the intersection

Clearly marked stop bars and crosswalks at intersections High -visibility

are marked at intersections with significant pedestrian usage


High -visibility LED traffic signal lamps

Black backstops on traffic signal heads to ensure the signal lamps are visible even on bright, sunny days Traffic signal heads placed on poles and mast arms above lanes of traffic

Despite these efforts, motorists are still running red lights, typically at the end of the yellow
Some intersections continue to have a higher percentage compared to the state average) of red light collisions for example, for the intersection of Market St / Dubuque St, 30% of all collisions ( 96 total collisions) were due to red light running over the past ten years. From a sample of local intersections ( as outlined in previous reports),
phase and into the red phase.

staff observed an average of 0. 6%

of vehicles running the red light, or several hundred vehicles

per day per intersection.

Studies and research

There have been numerous studies of the effectiveness of red light running camera
enforcement, and numerous criticisms of those studies.
Administration: " A

To quote from the Federal Highway

literature review found that estimates of the safety effect of red -light- running

cameras reduce right -angle crashes and could increase rear end crashes; however, most of the

programs vary considerably. The bulk of the results appear to support a conclusion that red light

studies are tainted by methodological difficulties that would render useless any conclusions from
of Evaluation Safety www.fhwa. pubIications/ research/ safety/ 050 ).

them. (





For this reason, staff has focused on

the Iowa -based statistics as they are more indicative of expected results in Iowa City, as
opposed to the experience in higher population states and metropolitan areas.

The study by Professor Hallmark, The Effectiveness of Iowa' s Automated Red Light Running

Enforcement Programs, 2007, is the study staff as relied on in presenting data to Council in previous reports. A summary/overview of this study (focusing on Davenport and Council Bluffs,
published by the Center for Transportation Research and Education ( CTRE),
samples are below:

is attached.

The CTRE Study summarizes results of other similar studies in other parts of the country. A few
A study was conducted by Retting and Kyrychenko in 1998 in Oxnard, CA including After a 29 month
three control cities: Bakersfiled, San Bernardino and Santa Barbara.
an analysis of variance was used to test statistical significance.

data collection process, a linear regression model was created to evaluate the data and
the Oxnard RLR cameras reduced the number of collisions by 7% with 95% confidence intervals of 1. 3 -12. 5% ( McGee and Eccles, 2003; Retting and Kyrychenko, 2002)

It was concluded that

A study of the San Francisco red light running camera program in 1997 found there was
a 42%

decrease in red light running and a 9% decrease in citywide collisions and injuries

Fleck and Smith, 1999).

As of 2003, the City of Portland, OR had red light running cameras at five intersections. During a study period of 2001 -2002, the five intersections reported a 60 -87% decline in
red light running violations.

Above information from the CTRE Study The Effectiveness of Iowa's Automated Red
Light Running Enforcement Programs, 2007]

A January 2012 summary of the Cedar Rapids experience is


Cedar Rapids has

reported that since camera installation ( both red light and speed cameras), total crashed citywide are down by 22 %, and personal injury crashes city -wide are down by 19 %.

The Federal Highway Administration has summaries of numerous, accepted studies automated traffic enforcement at http:// safety.fhwa. intersection/ redlight/cameras
Rear End Collisions


We have been asked specifically if rear -end collisions will increase with installation of red -light
There are examples nation -wide of an increase in rear end collisions due to red -light running cameras in some locations. The FHWA study ( Safety Evaluation of Red Light Cameras, 2005) found that even at locations with an increase in rear end collisions, " there is still 50, 000 per treated site year." a modest to moderate economic benefit of between $ 39, 000 and $
running cameras.

There are many other reasons for rear -end collisions, including driver distraction ( accounting for
end collisions nationwide), absence of turn lanes, crossing pedestrians, more than 60% of rear -

improper speed perception, uncontrolled access points /driveways, weather / slippery pavement,

Education/ Transparency

FHWA recommends that for red light camera programs to be most successful, they be

combined with a strong education /transparency effort. This would include brochures,

signage at




list of treated



the city website,



brochures /flyers, and media notice of where cameras are located.

Part of the effort would also

the effect on red light running rates and collision rates. An example of a brochure from the City
of Muscatine is attached.

be to publish ongoing statistics about the number of red light running violations recorded, and

How much revenue might be generated through the use of RL cameras,

how / should those revenues be used?

The amount of revenue generated is determined by several factors, including the number of intersections with camera enforcement, the fine amount, the contract terms with the camera
vendor, and the rates of red light running. We hope, and expect, that if red -light cameras are

installed, rates of red -light running will significantly decrease.

experience of other Iowa cities:

Until a contract is negotiated, and

We can however give the

we have local experience in red -light running violation rates after cameras are installed, we do
not have a solid answer for how much revenue might be generated.

Muscatine Red Light Cameras

5 intersections

507 citations January 2012

Fine rate = $ 100

Citations x fine = $ 50, 700 for one month **

Cedar Rapids Red Light Cameras

7 intersections

224 citations October 2011

Fine rate = $ 100

Citations x fine = $ 22, 400 for one month**

Des Moines Red Light Cameras

5 intersections

789 citations December 2011

Fine rate = $ 65

Citations x fine = $ 51, 285 for one month **

Actual revenue to the city is less than this amount due to non -payers, and due to the
percentage of the citation which is forwarded to the vendor, typically between 40% depending on the terms of the contract

and 60%

Regarding how the revenues may be used, this is ultimately at the Council' s discretion, once
funds are in -hand.

Proponents of automated camera enforcement view this as an example of a public -private partnership. Automated traffic enforcement would be installed and maintained by the private

firm at no cost to the City; the private firm and the City would share in revenues from fines; and
rates of collisions and injuries are expected to decline.

streets) such that if someone drove the speed limit, they could get to each light when it
was green?

5: Has any thought been given to synchronizing the lights on Burlington St ( or other


Street traffic signals,





are coordinated in that they

communicate' with each other to allow for efficiency in distributing traffic through the corridor while allowing for maximum ` green' time on the arterial street. The best examples of this are Market Street and Jefferson St, for which we can time the signals for traffic flow due to the one way street designation.

percentage of side street traffic at some locations ( Gilbert St, and to a lesser extent Clinton St and Madison St) and the need to optimize traffic flow in all directions; the volumes of traffic
moving in both directions;
the high percentage of pedestrian crossing actuations across

Burlington St specifically is difficult to synchronize for one direction of traffic, due to the high

Burlington St which increases the signal phase for the pedestrian crossing; and the need to

preserve the protected left turn signal phase for left- turning vehicles.

Has there been any thoughts to installing flashing yellow lights prior to the
The idea being that if the yellow light was
There are a few of these on HWY 218 through Waterloo and it seems

intersection of HWY 6 and Sycamore St?

intersection. [

flashing, the light at the intersection would be red when the vehicle reached the

Advance flashing yellow signals /beacons are typically used when there is a visibility issue
signals, but would be happy to.

approaching a signalized intersection, particularly in high speed corridors. We have not investigated if the Highway 6 / Sycamore St intersection meets the criteria for advance yellow

7: At the intersections where the red lights are proposed, how many tickets have been

written by the police to drivers for running a red light in the past 10 years?
Citations for" Disobey Red Light" at Select Intersections

Market St. and Dubuque St. Highway 6 and Sycamore St.
Jefferson St. and Gilbert St.


1 7









Total 19

5 4

2 2

4 1




22 17

Highway 6 and Boyrum St

Burlington St and S Riverside Dr.

5 10




1 1 1


Highway 1 and Orchard St.

Burlington St. and Gilbert St
Jefferson St. and Dubuque St.
Burlington St Madison St.



1 11 4 11 1 1

1 6

6 2



72 21

4 11


1 7


1 1


15 1

Burlington St. and Clinton St.


How many tickets have been written by police to drivers for running red lights

everywhere in town in the past 10 years ( by year)?









244. 4




Total Disobey Red Light Citations


with red -light cameras to alternate routes?

9: Are there are studies to indicate how much traffic relocates from the traveled ways How many people find alternative routes so

as to avoid streets with red light cameras?

Staff could not locate any analysis or evidence of traffic diversion resulting from photo enforcement in literature published by the Federal Highway Administration or Institute for Transportation Research at Iowa State University. We suspect this is the case because it is
easier ( and more efficient) for motorists to obey the traffic signals than to avoid photo enforced

10: Are there studies to determine impacts of installation of red light cameras on the
local economy (people avoiding the area)?

we could not locate any analysis or studies of automated traffic enforcement cameras resulting in motorists avoiding areas with automated traffic enforcement.
Similar to # 9


11: If a police officer is going to review all of the pictures before a ticket is sent out, is
there an estimate of how much time this would take? Wouldn' t this time be better spent

actually writing tickets for running red lights ($195.00

fine versus a $ 100. 00 fine)?

Each violation is flagged by the system and reviewed by the vendor prior to it entering a queue
for review by an ICPD officer. There are some intersections that will have more in the queue

than others and the exact number of violations will vary from day to day. The department has considered multiple strategies to manage the workload to include utilizing injured " light duty"

Station Master /Community Service Officers during slower times and we have the
A trained and experienced

technology to view web based applications in the patrol car.

reviewer can review the violation in a manner of seconds and move on to the next one.

The use of automated cameras is a tool to enhance the officer' s ability to enforce the traffic
laws, and not to replace the need for officers that work traffic.
light violation can still take enforcement action.
officer time for other activities.
An officer that observes a red

With greater compliance we expect to free up

S v bM; Nd by

At the January 10 and 24 Council meetings, I voted against the proposed resolution concerning the use of red light cameras at intersections. As I said during both meetings, however, I might change my mind / vote if

my concerns can be adequately addressed. Regardless of how we eventually vote, I think it is important that
we show we have thoughtfully considered information and opinions submitted by the public.
In an email I sent to the Council prior to the January 24 meeting, I recommended that we defer our second consideration of the resolution and schedule a work session focusing on the topic. The Council decided to

start the February 21 work session a half an hour early in order to discuss it.

My concerns are listed below. Some of the concerns involve legal questions the City Attorney can address. Others involve facts best addressed by the City Manager. And at least one involves value judgments that
only the Council can make.
Do these red light cameras constitute an intrusive and undesirable intrusion on civil liberties? Whether we should consider RL cameras to be an intrusion on civil liberties that trumps

public safety ( and other) concerns is a value judgment we cannot ask the staff to make. It' s one

only we council members can make, after taking the public' s views into account. That said, it
would be helpful (to me at least) to know whether using these cameras would establish any kind of meaningful precedent. I would, therefore. ask the staff identify where Iowa City government is currently using cameras to monitor activity in outdoor public spaces; e. g., at intersections, along
roadways, in public parks, in the Ped Mall, etc.

Does the possible use of red light cameras at intersections raise any important legal
questions about which we should be aware? This question has two parts:


I am disturbed by the time gap between the moment a vehicle passes through a red light
and when the owner of the vehicle receives a notice of violation and fine in the mail.

When I imagine myself receiving a notice in the mail 3 or 4 weeks after I pass through a
red light, I suspect I would not be able to remember the event and hence have virtually no

grounds to object or appeal. Does this raise legal questions ( e. g., due process) that we should be aware of before making a decision?

I am disturbed by the disconnect between the driver of the vehicle ( who commits the
transgression) and the owner of the car ( who receives the fine). It seems to me that the fines should be charged to the driver, not the owner. Does this raise due process, equal
protection, or other legal issues about which we should be aware?


What precisely is the problem that red light cameras at intersections would solve? Have other alternative solutions been considered? Is there scholarly and profession literature on
the topic about which we should be aware? On first glance I see no compelling relationship

between Red Light Running ( RLR) crashes and the total number of crashes and injuries at the 10 candidate intersections listed in the staffs memorandum recommending adoption of red light
cameras. ( I plotted the data on a graph and saw no correlation between RLR crashes and total

crashers at those intersections over a 10 -year period.) This tells me that many other factors ( e. g., weather, obstacles that block the driver' s view, excessively brief yellow lights, driver distractions)
are involved in intersection crashes and injuries, and hence that red light cameras might be a

solution in search of a problem. Put differently, we should articulate as clearly as possible the
nature of the problem we' re trying to solve.

City staff has drawn our attention to the experiences that two Iowa cities have had with RL
cameras. My gut instincts tell me that there is a substantial body of scholarly and professional
literature that should also be considered.

Some individuals have directed our attention to relevant literature. W. H. Kamery submitted an

article by Landland -Orban, Pracht, and Large ( 2008). This article concludes that RL cameras
decrease safety ( fewer side collisions but more rear end ones) and that there are more effective

ways of increasing safety; e. g., adding a few seconds to the amber light times. This raises a factual
question the staff should address: would any of the traffic safety measures identified in the article
be more effective than RL cameras at reducing accidents and injuries at the 10 candidate

Sue Travis' email dated Jan 17, 2012, also directs attention to evidence that RL cameras increase
the number of rear end accidents.

I ask the staff to inquire into the published literature and report back to us about what they find. On that point, two former colleagues at the U of Iowa tell me that they know of a highly respected researcher at Iowa State University ( Assoc. Prof. Shauna Hallmark) who is quite knowledgeable
about this topic. Staff could discuss the topic with her, report back to us, and perhaps invite her to
meet with us.


How much revenue might be generated through the use of RL cameras, and how could /should those revenues be used? This question has three parts:

In correspondence submitted to us, Susan Enle suggests that revenues should go into the

roads fund not the general fund. Larry Baker suggests they could be used to reduce property taxes. With these and other possibilities in mind, I ask staff to estimate the total

revenue that could be expected during the first full fiscal year after cameras are installed, to identify reasonable alternative uses of those funds, and to present a clear rationale for recommending one over the others. My own gut instincts tell me that the revenues should be used to fund traffic safety measures, but not to enhance revenues for any specific
department. But I have no definitive opinions on the matter.

Several residents have also expressed considerable skepticism about relying on a private firm to install and operate the cameras. The concern, as I understand it, is that the private
firm would have a financial incentive to find ways to detect more violations, and hence to increase its revenues. Staff should address this point.


Last, Ryan Denke urges us to consider the possible repercussions of bad contracts and

lawsuits that tend to come from photo enforcement. On this point, is there a body of experience nationwide about which we should be aware before deciding how to proceed?