Enforcement the key

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.

Vehicles drive through the intersection of Stuart and Cumberland Sts despite the traffic lights...
Vehicles drive through the intersection of Stuart and Cumberland Sts despite the traffic lights being red. PHOTO: GERARD O’BRIEN

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.'


The best way to sort this is cameras at intersections so culprits can be penalised. Fines and demerit point are a good way to prevent red light running. Doing nothing about it will not change behaviour.

"traffic-signal system, called Sydney Co-ordinated Adaptive Traffic System (Scats)" well that's an appropriate name for the light system Dunedin has, it is so out of phase at times, sitting waiting for the lights to change when the bicycles and pedestrians are away off down the street.

Don't you know about inching forward to trigger them?

Do you know you aren't supposed to roll forward, stop means stop.

I hope the DCC will also accept some responsibility for the increased frustrations of Dunedin drivers who try to beat the lights?!
After all, this council is on record as being determined to get people out of their cars and onto buses. And they have used every road congestion tool available to do this. From kerb protrusions, speed bumps, speed reductions, poor traffic light sequencing, cycle lanes, reduced parking, and road works everywhere.

It's little wonder Dunedin motorists have started taking more risks to get to their destination.
We all know about road rage. This is no different to drivers getting incredibly frustrated that a simple 10 minute drive now takes 20 to 30 minutes to complete, thanks to the DCC.

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