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25.03.2016
There is no simple or single reason to explain why drivers run red lights, but beginning with a definition will provide a framework for discussion. FHWA identified the following four elements from the Fatality Analysis Reporting System that provide a consistent definition of red-light running fatalities.
Vehicles must stop upon receiving the yellow indication, unless it is not possible to do so safely. This will need to be considered in combination with the definition of an intersection when developing a plan to address red-light running. The demographics category includes the age, gender and vehicle occupancy characteristics of the red-light runner. Accelerate when anticipating a change in signal indication, in order to make it through the intersection on the yellow. Table 1 summarizes the countermeasures that can be considered under each of the countermeasure groupings identified above. There is a correlation between the duration of the yellow interval and red light running events. Federal Highway Administration, National Highway Traffic Safety Administration, Red Light Camera Systems Operational Guidelines, Washington, DC. FHWA, Research, Development, and Technology, Turner-Fairbank Highway Research Center, Association of Selected Intersection Factors with Red-Light Running Crashes, FHWARD-00-112. Institute of Transportation Engineers, Making Intersections Safer: A Toolbox of Engineering Countermeasures to Reduce Red-Light Running.
3 Interim Report: NCHRP Project 03-95 Guidelines for Timing Yellow and All-Red Intervals at Signalized Intersection. How these factors interact to increase or decrease the risk of RLR will assist in identifying the varied reasons behind RLR. Prior to the discussion of engineering causes and countermeasures, this brief will describe several of the legal, demographic, human behavioral factors, vehicular, and intersection characteristics related to RLR. Any public information and education campaign would need to incorporate a learning objective regarding the meaning of the yellow indication. Drivers with poor driving records and driving smaller and older cars have a higher tendency to run red lights.8 Red-light runners are more likely than non-runners to be driving with suspended or revoked driver's licenses. The RLR frequency increases as the approach traffic volume at intersections increases.12 Time-of-Day Characteristics.


The type of signal control plays a role in the exposure of drivers to red-light running situations.
Both long yellow intervals which can violate driver expectancy and short yellow intervals (intervals shorter than the Institute of Transportation Engineers (ITE)-suggested values20) have resulted in a high number of RLR violations. The principal objectives of these publications are to identify engineering design and operational features of an intersection that could be upgraded to reduce RLR. These engineering countermeasures are based on a driver characteristic called the "unintentional violator." This type of driver may be incapable of stopping or may be inattentive while approaching the intersection due to poor judgment by the driver or in the design or operation of the intersection. Overhead-signal displays help to overcome the three most significant obstacles posed by locations that have only pole-mounted signal heads, which are: (1) they generally do not provide good conspicuity, (2) mounting locations may not provide a display with clear meaning and (3) motorists' line-of-sight blockage to the signal head due to other vehicles, particularly trucks, in the traffic stream. However, even with overhead signals, polemounted supplemental signal faces should be considered to further enhance signal visibility and conspicuity.
There is a belief that LEDs are brighter and last longer and therefore would provide safety benefits but this has not been quantified. Rumble strips are a series of intermittent, narrow, transverse areas of rough-textured, slightly raised or depressed road surface.
The sign and the flashers are placed a certain distance from the stop line as determined by the speed limit on the approach.
An all-red clearance interval is an optional portion of a traffic signal cycle that can follow a yellow change interval and precede the next conflicting green interval. Interconnected signal systems provide coordination between adjacent signals and are proven to reduce stops, reduce delays, decrease accidents, increase average travel speeds, and decrease emissions. If there is a high incidence of RLR violations, this may be because the traffic signal is perceived as being not necessary and does not command the respect of the motoring public.
When a roundabout replaces a signalized intersection, the RLR problem is obviously eliminated. Volpe National Transportation Systems Center, Analysis of Red Light Violation Data Collected from Intersections Equipped with Red Light Photo Enforcement Cameras, DOT-VNTSC-NHTSA-05-01. When a signal is positioned such that it is over the middle of the lane, it is in the center of the motorist's cone of vision, thereby increasing its visibility. Some studies have found that LED units tend to lose brightness over time instead of exhibiting an immediate failure.
This type of treatment provides a specific warning of an impending traffic signal change ahead.


The purpose of the all-red interval is to allow time for vehicles that entered the intersection during the yellow-change interval to clear the intersection before the traffic-signal display for the conflicting approaches turns to green.
In addition, if drivers are given the best signal coordination practical, they may not be as compelled to beat or run a red signal. If a signal is eliminated, the traffic engineer must continue to monitor the intersection for any potential increase in crashes. Single-lane roundabouts and other roundabouts have been shown to have significantly less crashes (and less severe crashes) than signalized intersections.
A Nationwide Survey of Self-Reported Red Light Running: Measuring Prevalence, Predictors, and Perceived Consequences. Drivers' Decision-Making at Signalized Intersections: An Optimization of the Yellow Timing. In general, engineering countermeasures should help address the unintentional violations, and enforcement countermeasures should help address the intentional violations.
If the approach is unoccupied for a period of time, the green may reach its maximum limit and "gap out" forcing the green phase to end regardless of whether the approach is occupied. This type of driver is most affected by enforcement countermeasures, while unintentional red-light runners are most affected by engineering countermeasures. The additional signal head further increases the likelihood that a motorist will see the signal display for the approach. Placement of a primary signal head over each through lane has been demonstrated to have the lowest incidence of crashes. There are no known studies reporting on how this treatment can reduce red-light violations or the resulting crashes; hence their use should be restricted to special situations.
They detect if a car is at the dilemma zone immediately before the onset of the yellow interval.
If used, they should be limited to lower-speed facilities (less than 40 mph) and be reserved for locations where other treatments have not been effective.
If a vehicle is there, the green interval can be extended so that the vehicle can travel through the dilemma zone and prevent the onset of the yellow while in the dilemma zone.



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