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The Star’s ‘Stop Running the Red’ campaign has mobilised readers. We’ve been inundated with messages describing Dunedin’s traffic behaviour as selfish and inconsiderate. This week we look at how the Dunedin City Council and police tackle the problem.
Despite having access to traffic recordings, the Dunedin City Council says the most effective tool for reducing red light running is enforcement.
The computer system running Dunedin’s traffic signals has the ability to record red-light running, but reports are no longer being generated.
Dunedin City Council transport strategy manager Nick Sargent said the traffic-signal system, called Sydney Co-ordinated Adaptive Traffic System (Scats), recorded vehicles as they passed detectors. The data could then be used for traffic counts as well as red-light running.
The data had in the past been provided to police.
Mr Sargent said the reports were no longer being regularly prepared as the information was assessed as remaining consistent.
Council group manager for transport Jeanine Benson said although Scats provided a count of the number of vehicles running red lights, the data was anonymous.
"There is no way to identify individual vehicles."
Mr Sargent said the most effective solution was enforcement, which was the responsibility of the police.
Information from New Zealand Police showed there had been thousands of red-light-running offences at intersections in the Otago Coastal region of the Southern Police District, which includes Dunedin.
Between 2009 and 2020 there were 3453 officer-issued red-light-running offences, which incurred a $150 fine.
Fines issued for those offences during that period totalled $504,150, more than half a million dollars.
Mr Sargent said engineering solutions could also be used to reduce red-light running, as well as education campaigns.
The council had invested in changes to improve road safety including Safer Schools improvements and, at intersections, new signals phasing (pedestrian protection red turn arrows and vehicle turn phases), new signals hardware and changes to lane layouts.
The results had improved intersection safety in Dunedin.
"For example, the Hillside Rd/King Edward St intersection has dropped out of New Zealand’s top-50 list of worst intersections, while the number of Dunedin intersections included in New Zealand’s top 200 worst intersections list has dropped from four to two," he said.
The council had monthly meetings with Waka Kotahi NZ Transport Agency representatives to discuss signals operation in Dunedin, as well as day-to-day communication as required.
"We also have meetings as required with the police to discuss red-light running and other traffic safety matters.'