Tribune: IDOT Approves Red Light Cameras That May Not Be Needed

Sunday, September 24, 2017 || By Local News Curator || @maywoodnews 

Featured image: A sign notifying drivers of a red light camera. | Getty Images 

A Sept. 23 Chicago Tribune investigation has found that the Illinois Department of Transportation (IDOT) has been approving the installation of red light cameras on suburban state routes despite the lack of evident need for the cameras.

The report highlights a case in Oak Brook Terrace, which wanted to install new light cameras “a busy but relatively safe intersection. IDOT must approve cameras on state routes in the suburbs, and it said no: Cameras are for boosting safety, and the intersection’s ‘low crash rates’ did not support a need for cameras.”

A few months after denying the suburb its camera, IDOT changed course. That no turned into a yes, the Tribune reports, “after the intervention of a powerful state senator who received campaign cash from the red light camera firm that stood to make millions of dollars from those Oakbrook Terrace cameras. The senator’s involvement prompted dozens of emails between IDOT officials — with large passages of that correspondence kept secret to this day by IDOT.”

Screen Shot 2017-09-24 at 7.02.04 PM.png

A Chicago Tribune image mapping red light cameras throughout the suburbs based on a Tribune analysis of IDOT data. | Screenshot 

The investigation has reopened the question of exactly what is motivating the installation of red light cameras: safety or money? Among the Tribune’s other findings:

  • “More than half the intersections with cameras scored among the safest in IDOT studies at the time the agency approved the cameras.
  • “IDOT, more often than not, allowed cameras at places that didn’t meet its own threshold for whether an intersection had a red light crash problem.
  • “Of current cameras, one-fourth were granted permits in spots with no red-light-related crashes in at least three years.”

Read the full Chicago Tribune investigative report here.

The following is a list of some of those intersections in Proviso Township where red light cameras were installed. As in Oak Brook, some show an apparent lack of evidence justifying their installation.
D209 Parent University

Illinois 64/North Ave. at 25th Ave.

  • Permit issued: 2010
  • Danger ranking: Worst 5%
  • Eastbound approach:
    • Red light crashes? Yes
    • Met IDOT threshold? Yes
  • Southbound approach:
    • Red light crashes? No
    • Met IDOT threshold? Yes
  • Westbound approach:
    • Red light crashes? Yes
    • Met IDOT threshold? Yes

Illinois 64/North Ave. at 9th Ave.

  • Permit issued: 2008
  • Danger ranking: Minimal
  • Eastbound approach:
    • Red light crashes? Yes
    • Met IDOT threshold? Yes

Illinois 64/North Ave. at 5th Ave.

  • Permit issued: 2007
  • Danger ranking: Unknown
  • Eastbound approach:
    • Red light crashes? Yes
    • Met IDOT threshold? Yes
  • Westbound approach:
    • Red light crashes? Yes
    • Met IDOT threshold? Yes

U.S. 12-U.S. 20-U.S. 45/Mannheim Road at U.S.

  • Permit issued: 2008
  • Danger ranking: Medium
  • Eastbound approach:
    • Red light crashes? Yes
    • Met IDOT threshold? No
  • Southbound approach:
    • Red light crashes? No
    • Met IDOT threshold? Yes
  • Westbound approach:
    • Red light crashes? Yes
    • Met IDOT threshold? No

U.S. 12-U.S. 20-U.S. 45/Mannheim Road at U.S. 20/Lake St.

  • Permit issued: 2008
  • Danger ranking: Medium
  • Eastbound approach:
    • Red light crashes? Yes
    • Met IDOT threshold? No
  • Southbound approach:
    • Red light crashes? No
    • Met IDOT threshold? Yes
  • Northbound approach:
    • Red light crashes? Yes
    • Met IDOT threshold? No
  • Westbound approach:
    • Red light crashes? Yes
    • Met IDOT threshold? No

U.S. 12-U.S. 20-U.S. 45/Mannheim Road at St. Charles Road

  • Permit issued: 2008
  • Danger ranking: Medium
  • Eastbound approach:
    • Red light crashes? No
    • Met IDOT threshold? No
  • Southbound approach:
    • Red light crashes? Yes
    • Met IDOT threshold? No

U.S. 12-U.S. 20-U.S. 45/Mannheim Road at Illinois 38/Roosevelt Road

  • Permit issued: 2008
  • Danger ranking: Minimal
  • Eastbound approach:
    • Red light crashes? No
    • Met IDOT threshold? No
  • Southbound approach:
    • Red light crashes? Yes
    • Met IDOT threshold? No
  • Northbound approach:
    • Red light crashes? No
    • Met IDOT threshold? No
  • Westbound approach:
    • Red light crashes? Yes
    • Met IDOT threshold? No

Illinois 171/1st Ave. at Roosevelt Road

  • Permit issued: 2012
  • Danger ranking: Worst 5%
  • Southbound approach:
    • Red light crashes? Yes
    • Met IDOT threshold? Yes

Illinois 171/1st Ave. at I-290 Eisenhower Expy/Harrison

  • Permit issued: 2010
  • Danger ranking: Low
  • Southbound approach:
    • Red light crashes? No
    • Met IDOT threshold? No

Illinois 171/1st Ave. at Washington Blvd.

  • Permit issued: 2016
  • Danger ranking: Minimal
  • Southbound approach:
    • Red light crashes? Yes
    • Met IDOT threshold? No
  • Northbound approach:
    • Red light crashes? No
    • Met IDOT threshold? No

Illinois 171/1st Ave. at Chicago Ave.

  • Permit issued: 2016
  • Danger ranking: High
  • Southbound approach:
    • Red light crashes? No
    • Met IDOT threshold? No

Red Light Cameras_ProvisoF E A T U R E D  E V E N T

Parent university flyer

3 thoughts on “Tribune: IDOT Approves Red Light Cameras That May Not Be Needed”

  1. Unfortunately, IDOT happily approves for-profit money-grab red light camera rackets pretty easily. They care far more about pleasing influential politicians than they care about safety. IDOT knows that most red light camera tickets go to safe drivers for the “dastardly crime of driving perfectly safely for the conditions”. IDOT knows full well that the first, last, and usually the ONLY reason for red light cameras is profits, not safety. But enforcement for profits is 100% wrong, 100% of the time. Many IDOT approvals are completely immoral and against state rules, but IDOT does not care.

    James C. Walker, National Motorists Association

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