Why are Chicago’s Yellow Lights Shorter than Suburbs?
Most Chicago yellow lights last three seconds, the bare minimum recommended under federal safety guidelines. In the suburbs, yellows generally stay on for four to four-and-a-half seconds.
by Brian Costin
Extending yellow light duration is one of the most popular alternative safety enhancements cited by critics of red light camera. The argument is that municipalities installing red light cameras often overlook low cost effective methods of making our intersections safer because there is no revenue enhancements made by improving yellow light timing.
Chicago has 186 intersections monitored by red light cameras, more than any city in the nation. Is it any surprise a recent Chicago Tribune article found that Chicago has some of the shortest yellow light times around?
“Most Chicago yellow lights last three seconds, the bare minimum recommended under federal safety guidelines. In the suburbs, yellows generally stay on for four to four-and-a-half seconds.”
I guess the Chicago City Council either doesn’t know or care about the numerous studies showing an increase the duration of yellow lights, and increasing the “all red” phase, 1-2 seconds can reduce accidents at intersections by 40-80%.
With $64 million in red light camera revenue in 2009 alone I guess the Chicago City Council just doesn’t care enough about public safety enough to consider extending yellow lights.
The City of Chicago continues to say red light cameras are only about the safety. That’s just Poppycock!
If they were truly interested in safety they wouldn’t have the shortest yellow light times in the Chicagoland area.