• Red light cameras could be coming soon; How does the program work?

    Updated:

    PHILADELPHIA - A bill that would authorize 19 of Pennsylvania's most populated cities -- including Pittsburgh -- to install red-light cameras in an effort to improve traffic is still awaiting approval in the state legistature.

    Since the prospect of the cameras is being discussed in the area, Channel 11's Vince Sims traveled to Philadelphia to take a look at how the program works there.

    Philadelphia's manager of red light enforcement said since the program began in 2005 there has been a major drop in violations.

    "You are talking about a decrease of over 90 percent.  A decrease of thousands of instances where a vehicle goes through a red light," said Chris Vogler, red light enforcement manager.

    Vogler said some intersections went from 4,100 violations per year to 250.

    Despite the statistics, some drivers think the program causes more harm than good. Some claim the the cameras cause drivers to suddenly brake, resulting in more rear-end collisions.

    "You break a little bit and bang! You get hit in the back," driver Anthony Petrongolo.

    "It's awful. They need to get rid of it. It makes no sense," said driver Patricia Chapman.

    Vogler said the number of rear-end collisions increased slightly after the camera program began, but has since decreased.

    "We make sure the yellow times are consistent or above regulations that the U.S. Department of Transportation has," Vogler said.

    The program brought in nearly $14 million in revenue in 2011. Sims reported that the red light camera company gets a fixed amount every month. Sims found that the company received $4 million last year.

    The remainder of the profits goes to Harrisburg. Since 2005, the program made $21 million for the state.  Over the past three years, Philadelphia has received $10 million back in highway grants.

    Next Up: