Chicago Red-Light Camera Tickets Drop for Fifth Straight Year

Chicago red light camera tickets have declined 20% in the past 5 years.

Chicago red light camera tickets have declined 20% in the past 5 years.

Drivers appear to be hitting the brakes at red lights — leading to a big drop in tickets issued by red-light cameras, city officials said.

For the fifth year in a row, Chicago’s red-light camera program has seen a significant decline in the number of tickets issued.

The city’s 384 red-light cameras issued 579,460 tickets last year — 32,619 fewer than in 2012, representing a 5 percent decline, according to data obtained from the city’s Finance Department.

In fact, the data shows red-light camera tickets have been falling steadily since 2009, when 722,935 tickets were issued, a record at the time after a dramatic expansion of the program a year earlier. The 140,000-ticket drop represents a 20 percent decline since the peak five years ago.

Fewer tickets issued means a potential drop in fine revenue. At $100 a ticket, that translates to an estimated $3.2 million drop in fines issued between 2012 and 2013 and a $14.3 million drop in total fines issued since 2009.

Read more at DNA Info.

13 Responses to Chicago Red-Light Camera Tickets Drop for Fifth Straight Year

  1. Jeff says:

    The downward trend of red light camera revenue is likely what motivated Rahm to push for speed cameras. Once drivers learned to avoid the revenue grab from the red light cameras, Rahm needed a whole new scam to keep city coffers filled. Speed cameras (“for the sake of the children”) are nothing more than the lastest desperate move by City Hall to patch the gaping holes in the City budget.

    Unfortunately for Rahm, drivers are apparently becoming savvy about all of these camera cash grabs, and speed camera revenues might be a bust in terms of making up the shortfall from declining red light ticket revenues:

  2. Greg says:

    Well, this is a good thing, right? Since red light cameras are all about safety…?

  3. The Parking Ticket Geek says:

    Greg, Jeff, etal,

    I think anytime LESS red light cam tickets are issued, the better. It’s probably a combination of factors but I’m happy when people are ticketed less and the city is generating less revenue in this way.

  4. B says:

    The fact is there does not need to be a trade off between right angle and rear end collisions. Both can be eliminated with proper engineering which starts with increasing the duration of the yellow signal.

    This was well known and the engineering standard procedure prior to the invention and deployment of money making camera enforcement.

  5. Jeff says:


    The City of Chicago has repeatedly opposed making traffic yellow signals, longer, arguing it would be a burden for the city to make this change:

    The City has taken this position even though longer yellows would reduced accidents and injuries. So much for the safety rationale for the red light cameras.

  6. The city will NEVER maker Ambers safer (longer) until forced to by the Federal government. A change in the 2009 MUTCD (regulations) will take effect 12/31/2014. The entire country will have to time traffic signals using ITE engineering procedures. Chicago has used a flat 3 seconds of Amber time for all 30 MPH streets and 4 seconds of Amber for streets with 35 MPH posted limits. But will Chicago follow the law as they
    Expect drivers to? How will they try and “wriggle out” of the safety mandate? Time will tell. Chicago runs the risk of closing the Federal funds for road improvements. So what’s more important; Pot Holes or Illicit Profits?

  7. Chicago is addicted to camera dollars, it’s municipal crack cocaine.
    It just feels too good to stop.

  8. Chicagoland drivers are taking more and more of their trade and business to areas outside the city, what a shame!

  9. […] WBBM Newsradio’s Regine Schlesinger reports figures obtained by The Expired Meter website showed the number of red light camera tickets issued in 2013 dropped 5 percent compared to 2012, and…. […]

  10. Jeff says:


    The issue of yellow lights being too short also affects cyclists, who find themselves in the middle of an intersection when the light goes from yellow to red:

  11. Jeff says:


    Heard you being interviewed on the radio about your excellent reporting of this downward trend in red light tickets. About time you finally got some respect. At times you have been the Rodney Dangerfield of Chicago bloggers, with others using your material and giving you no credit.

    I will say, though, that I was surprised to hear you on the news, concerning I always thought that if I heard/saw you on the news, it would be in connection with a dibs-related altercation (Local Parking Ticket Blogger Beats Neighbor Senseless With Snow Shovel Over Parking “Dibs”).

  12. The Parking Ticket Geek says:


    Thanks for the kind words dude. I still think it’s nuts that people actually take a goof like myself seriously. But, it’s very cool when the larger media pays attention to the reporting we do here.

    As far as winding up in jail over a physical altercation–have no worries–12 year old girls could probably beat me up.

  13. B says:

    The rightmost safe location is the bicyclist’s call. Also IME drivers like Z28 consider anything left of the gutter to be the middle of the lane.

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