Free Essay Sample on Traffic Cameras in Chicago

Published: 2022-04-26
Free Essay Sample on Traffic Cameras in Chicago
Type of paper:  Research paper
Categories:  Security
Pages: 8
Wordcount: 1943 words
17 min read

The city of Chicago rests on 234 square miles in size and boasts a population of up to 2.8 million people and also known to be the second largest city in Illinois. The city of Chicago is a busy city which is responsible for daily day to day activities of its residents such as health care, sanitation, and provision of social utilities. Red-light cameras are designed to reduce accidents on Chicago city streets by minimizing head-on collisions at intersections. There are three different types of collisions head-on, side swipe, and rear end crashes. Chicago city has approximately 300 intersections all fitted with traffic cameras, and this has reduced the number of angle crashes by around 59%. The camera lights are designed to reduce T-bone crashes which in turn reduces the number of injuries on the people involved. Traffic lights are designed to monitor and control the behavior and drivers along the streets. The traffic cameras are meant to reinforce compliance among individuals making the number of angles crashes minimal. The impact that traffic lights play in the economy of Chicago city is a generation of revenue and regulation of the citizens' behavior hence controlling population dying through accidents. Good road infrastructure translates to minimal accidents which in turn hasten the movement of goods from one location to another hence stimulating economic development. Installation of traffic cameras in Chicago city helps monitor and control the behavior of road users which not only help maintain the roads in a good state but also reduces the deaths resulting from road accidents. This is good for the safety of a country's citizens and also reducing the losses from death ensures a health working population for a nation.

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Chicago has around 2900 signals of which 470 of the signals are interconnected through fiber network making it easier to transmit data through radar modulation from the vehicle to the enforcement Centre. Traffic management authority takes charge of the signals, maintaining the roads, signal coordination, and timing and also a division of electricity at CDOT. The design and timing of signals are done by the CDOT which also responsible for adding new signals and modernizing the old existing signals depending on the technological advancement.

Traffic cameras which include speed cameras and Traffic master were first launched in Chicago city in 2013. Are placed on top of traffic lights above the ground to monitor the flow of traffic, the speed at which drivers are driving at an intersection or through the highway. Red light cameras were first launched in Chicago in 2003. Red light cameras on the other hand use light to indicate the direction of an incoming car, indicate when it is safe for people to cross and also show when cars should stop. Traffic cameras, unlike red light cameras, are quite advanced and 'intelligent' as they are set in a way that they can monitor traffic rule breakers and send reports to the respective traffic divisions. Traffic cameras are relatively small in size and provide surveillance in an area. Red camera lights, on the other hand, are placed at each intersection on the road, and they are relatively big (AeronThomas, 12). Traffic cameras in Chicago use radar technology to transmit real-time data from the traffic camera device to the respective police station without necessarily having police on the roads.

Different types of traffic cameras in Chicago city.

There are different types of traffic cameras on the streets of Chicago city. They include:


Gatso is a type of a traffic camera designed to monitor the speed of cars. The machine is designed to send signals to the vehicle which are then reflected back by the vehicle. The machine can estimate the speed at which the car is moving by sending to signals at two different intervals and using the time intervals between the signals to estimate its speed. If the car is moving above the speed limit, the machine digitally takes pictures of the car and which it transmits back to the enforcement officer and makes white marks on the road as an indicator of the speed.


This type of a camera is designed to transmit images to the central station without the need for a camera film. It is fitted with four sensors on the road which enables it to estimate the speed of the vehicles overtaking the Truvelo D-cam is also designed in a way it can take a picture of the driver from the front. That is the type of a camera is better than a gatso, and it makes it possible for the traffic enforcers to catch speeding drivers.

Speed spike

This type of traffic camera operates on an automatic number plate recognition platform making it easier the monitor the entire journey of the motorists across the country (Ibrahim, 56). This type of camera has some sensors which make it possible.

Mobile cameras

They are designed to run on radar technology. They are hand-held and carried by police officers around and are sometimes fitted in the layoff vans.


They use radar technology to monitor traffic along several lanes. These cameras are grey making them invisible, and hence they can capture wrong doers without their consent. These type of cameras upon introduction were primarily set up to smooth traffic flow along the lanes, therefore, increasing motorway capacity, but practically they are used to record the average speed of moving cars over a distance.

Traffic master

Traffic master control congestion levels by using the data on the traffic cameras to monitor speeds and sending them to drivers who have their navigation rolled into the Traffic master systems. These help drivers to know which streets are congested hence avoiding them and opting for streets and lanes that are flowing smoothly.


They are cameras mounted on gantries to monitor traffic along four lanes simultaneously and taking photographs of every car that passes beneath them. These cameras are fitted with automatic number plate recognition which takes the photographs of speeding cars and sends them to another camera below which uses the interval difference between the two cameras estimate the speed of the motorists.


Uses automatic number plate recognition to monitor the average speeds of moving cars making at box junctions and control congestion levels. These cameras collect data and then emits it to the enforcement team.

Highways agency CCTV- are used to monitor traffic flow. Unlike other types of cameras, these cameras are not used to store data.

Speed curbs -are cameras designed to take photos of vehicles below them if the vehicles are speeding. These cameras make use of sensors embedded on the roads to take photos of the cars.

Driver and vehicle licensing agency cameras are used in collaboration with driver and vehicle standards agency to monitor if cars are accurately licensed and which cars have not remitted their excise duty (Daigavane, 112). These cameras are also used to check that good vehicle have also paid their HGV road user levy.

DS2 are cameras in grey which are placed at random spots on the roads which are fitted with sensors that transmit data to the police from a distance which makes it possible for police to issue a fine on the spot.

Different uses of traffic cameras in Chicago

Traffic cameras are used for several purposes. They include monitoring the speed of moving cars. Traffic cameras such as speed curbs, speed spike, gatso, and vector are used to estimate the average speed of vehicles by comparing the time used to move from one point to another (Pilkington, 332). These cameras are important to the Chicago city enforcement team as they make it easy for police to detect criminals, control speed, as well as minimize accidents on the roads.

Secondly, traffic cameras can be used to monitor vehicles ease congestion hence creating more motorway capacity. Cameras such as Trafficmaster, highway agency CCTV and Hadec3 provide drivers with information on the state of the roads even before leaving the house. Hence they can identity which routes to use and which ones to avoid hence easing congestion. Other cameras of this nature are fitted in invisible colors without the knowledge of the motorist making it easier for the traffic police to enforce fines on the spot.

Third, traffic cameras in Chicago city are also used as a source of revenue. One of the common sources of government revenue is imposition and collection of fines from law breakers. Traffic cameras like DVLA and DVSA are used by the enforcement team to identify which cars have not paid their excise duty and the HGV road user duty which are all sources of revenue for the government (Higgins, 339). Traffic cameras are also set at unsuspecting locations making it easy for the police to capture law breakers who punished through payment of fines.

Cameras also help to moderate the speed of motorists and drivers which is good for the environment. Low speed translates to minimal fuel consumption hence fewer emissions to the surrounding environment.

Lastly, traffic cameras are used to store data and records on road safety which is presented to the law breaker as evidence should they be in denial of the crime committed. Most of the cameras discussed above capture data in the form of photographs which are sent to the central police station through radar technology. These records are used as evidence against the law breakers.

These records are important to the ministry of roads and infrastructure in making decisions on the highways to set up roundabouts and crossways. The information helps road engineers identify which roads tend being congested hence they can identify where to construct subways.

Traffic cameras in Chicago city have positive effects since they alert drivers who could not have been cautious without prior knowledge of the existence of the cameras. Traffic cameras tend to reinforce situational compliance. Once the driver is aware of a camera installed at a certain location, they tend to drive by the rules and remain within the stipulated speed limit in the given location. This could not be the case if the driver is not forewarned. This not only constrains the driver to their best behavior but also help minimize road accidents at cross-sections. Some traffic cameras tend to create some degree of uncertainty from the driver's side which creates pre-judgments that they are likely to come across cameras and this causes them to obey traffic rules, especially when driving within the city (Grant-Muller, 151).

Traffic cameras, on the other hand, tend to instill fear in the drivers and motorists making them drive at some unreasonably low speed hence because traffic snarl-ups. Radar operated cameras are sometimes inefficient, and they may generate tickets with inappropriate readings which puts the wrong person in trouble or sometimes may lead to false accusations.

Traffic cameras are also accused of having no evidence to show for improved safety. These traffic cameras are not independently able to reduce accidents on the roads, easy traffic flow or reduce congestion (Ibrahim, 771). According to the national motorist's association, the traffic cameras are only efficient when used to collect fines from the law breakers and have no clear advantage on the driver's side.

Another disadvantage of using traffic cameras as evidence in accusations is the fact that there is no accuser. Constitutionally the accused must always face the accuser, in this case, an accuser is an automatic machine which is subject to errors. This not only makes the cameras relatively unreliable but also tends to create doubt of their authenticity amongst the drivers. Another disadvantage of traffic camera is that they tend to cause accidents due to abrupt braking for instance from 40mph to 30mph.

Traffic cameras also tend to generate selective responses among drivers. When drivers are aware of area...

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