How does the Red Light camera work?

How the Camera Works

  • The system activates when motion is detected just prior to the stop bar after the traffic signal has turned red. The camera captures two images of an alleged violation, taken from the rear of the vehicle.
  • First rear image: The first image shows the vehicle from the rear at the white stop bar and the illuminated red light.
  • Second rear image: The second image shows the violator in the middle of the intersection with the red light illuminated.
  • License plate image: The cropped license plate close-up is not a separate image, but rather a close-up view from one of the original violation images.
  • Data, including the time, date, and duration of the yellow and red lights, also is recorded.
  • Cameras also record a 12-second digital video of the violation, including six seconds prior to and six seconds after running the red light.
Red Light Camera Mechanics

Why does the camera flash when no one actually runs the red light?

The red-light camera system is designed to take two rear photographs of a vehicle that may be committing a violation. The first rear image captures the vehicle prior to entering the intersection with the traffic signal red, and the second image shows the vehicle continuing through the intersection during the red signal phase.

On occasion, a vehicle approaching an intersection with a red light may come to a stop before entering the intersection yet trigger the red-light camera system, causing the flash to discharge. In addition, a vehicle approaching the intersection and making a right turn may not come to a complete stop but only slow before continuing to turn, triggering the red-light camera system and causing the flash to discharge.

The Police Department reviews each violation event captured by the red-light camera system and makes the final decision to issue a citation. All flash incidents do not equate to a citation; however, the imaging results in 80%+ accuracy in identifying excessive speed approaches.