Jersey Village City Council voted to relocate eight red light cameras within city limits at its Feb. 17 meeting. The move is an effort to mitigate accidents and control traffic that has worsened since the city's 10 cameras were taken offline as an order from the Texas Department of Transportation because of Hwy. 290 construction.
Since the cameras were removed, Jersey Village Police Chief Eric Foerster said automobile accidents have increased 27.6 percent at the intersections where the cameras were, with a total of 37 accidents at those intersections.
Money generated by the city's red light camera system is split between the city and the state, with the city's share going to support its traffic safety program, City Manager Mike Castro said. The red light camera system generated about $200,000 in revenue for the city each month before it was shut down.
The new locations are projected to bring in $68,000 each month. As a result, the traffic safety programs' budget will have to be adjusted moving forward.
Castro said he does not know when TxDOT will allow the cameras to be reinstated along the Hwy. 290 frontage road, but it could be as long as 3–5 years.
State Rep. Gary Elkins, R-Houston, has sponsored legislation to shut down red light camera systems, claiming they increase accidents. Justin McDole with American Traffic Systems, the company contracted by the city to manage the red light camera system, said statewide studies have found the opposite to be true.
"Studies show a slight increase in rear end accidents, but there's a decrease in fatalities," he said.
The camera relocation will be handled by ATS and will come at no cost to the city. A timetable has not been set for when the relocated cameras will be back online.