When the City of New Orleans unveiled its budget for 2017, more traffic cameras were part of it. On Monday, Jan. 9, the installation of 45 new permanent cameras began in Orleans Parish.
By April, all 55 new cameras, 45 permanent and 10 mobile units, will be activated.
Several questions regarding the money generated by the traffic cameras and the expansion of the program came to light following the announcement.
Below are the questions submitted by reporter Paul Murphy and the city's answers:
Can I get a breakdown of how much money the city has received from the traffic camera program since it started in 2008?
City: The City has received a total of $123.4 million since 2008. A detailed by year breakdown can be found in the City’s proposed operating budget book (http://www.nola.gov/mayor/budget/documents/2017-budget/2017-proposed-operating-budget-book/)
2) Does the money go into the city's general fund or are the funds dedicated?
City: The revenue from the traffic safety camera program goes into the General Fund.
3) How much new money will the additional traffic cameras bring in per year?
City: The additional traffic safety cameras will bring in a net of $5 million in 2017.
4) What's the breakdown on the percentage of revenue the city receives versus the traffic camera vendor Traffic Solutions?
City: The City of New Orleans receives 70% of gross revenue and American Traffic Solutions receives approximately 30%.
5) How much does it cost each year to operate and maintain the traffic camera program?
City: Operation and maintenance of the existing program costs approximately $5.5 million annually. This amount includes vendor fees and City expenses.
6) Why is the program expanding?
City: We have made progress, but speeding remains a problem. The purpose of the Traffic Camera Safety Program is to deter red light violations, reduce speeding violations, increase traffic situational awareness and reduce collision severity. Only 21 of the City’s 134 schools (16%) are covered by a traffic safety camera. Additionally, the City has received over 45 requests to install new traffic safety cameras from residents and neighborhoods in response to speeding. Speeding increases the severity of collisions and the risk of fatalities.
7) Has there been an appreciable impact on the number of accidents in the city since the cameras went on line in 2008?
City: Since 2008, over 80% of individuals who received a traffic safety camera citation and paid it do not get another citation. Additionally, over 93% of individuals who received two traffic safety camera citations and paid them do not get a third citation. Surveys indicate that more than half of all drivers admit that they drive more carefully when they know traffic safety cameras are present.