Tag Archives: Redflex
A newly released report from Chicago’s Inspector General’s Office slams the city’s management of its red light camera program and its oversight of the program’s former vendor, Redflex Traffic Systems.
The report, released Friday morning, is the result of an OIG investigation into a series of mysterious spikes in red light camera tickets at a handful of intersections uncovered by the Chicago Tribune this past summer. The story spotlighted 12 intersections where ticketing would jump dramatically for a short period of time, then subside just as suddenly, resulting in nearly 16,000 questionable violations.
After the Tribune story broke, members of the City Council’s Progressive Caucus wrote a letter to Inspector General Joseph Ferguson asking him to investigate these issues.
What the OIG investigation revealed was the Chicago Department of Transportation poorly managed the city’s red light camera program while Redflex was the vendor, allowing Redflex to avoid its contractual duties to report enforcement anomalies over the 11 years the company held the contract.
Redflex was banned from bidding on the new contract when an alleged bribery scandal came to light which implicated company management and a former CDOT manager who oversaw the program.
According to the Associated Press, each count carries up to a maximum of 20 years in prison.
Finley is the third of three charged by federal authorities in connection with an alleged bribery scheme . Allegedly Redflex funneled hundreds of thousands of dollars via a middle man to the person who oversaw Chicago’s red light camera program in return for securing and maintaining the city RLC contract.
Former Chicago Department of Transportation manager John Bills, who is also under indictment and pleaded not guilty the week before, allegedly was given cash, gifts, tickets to sporting events, a car, computers and even a condo in Arizona (the home state for Redflex’s U.S. division) for greasing the skids for the red light camera company.
That’s the plea former city manager John Bills and his long time friend, Martin O’Malley gave in U.S. Federal Court on Tuesday according to the Chicago Tribune.
Bills, the long time Chicago Department of Transportation deputy commissioner who oversaw the city’s red light camera program, is accused of accepting hundreds of thousands of dollars in bribes to help Redflex Traffic Systems win and keep the lucrative city contract.
O’Malley is alleged to have been the conduit who funneled most of the $2 million paid to him from Redflex to Bills.
The 23-count indictment alleges Karen Finley provided John Bills, the retired official in charge of the city’s red light camera program, with bribes to help the company secure the city’s contract. Finley was charged with nine counts of mail fraud, three counts of wire fraud, three counts of federal program bribery, and one count of conspiracy to commit federal program bribery. Finley was the company’s CEO from 2005-2011 and was Vice-President at the time the alleged bribery scheme was hatched.
Bills, who was indicted in May, is alleged to have received nearly $600,000 in cash and other gifts for his assistance. The company raked in over $124 million in revenue from their Chicago contract over the past 11 years.
The world’s largest copier manufacturer will now oversee the nation’s largest red light-camera program the City of Chicago confirmed Friday morning.
The Chicago Department of Transportation announced Friday it finalized the $44 million contract with Xerox to run the cameras for the next five years. There are options to renew it three times at two years per extension.
Xerox will move immediately to take over the management of the red-light camera program from Redflex, according to CDOT.
Under the new contract, Xerox will charge the city $1,819 per camera per month, which is substantially less than the $4,300 per month Redflex has been charging under the current contract, CDOT said. Officials said the new contract will save $50 million dollars over the next five years.
“Automated red-light enforcement changes drivers’ behavior to reduce the number of crashes and increase the level of safety for everyone,” said CDOT Commissioner Gabe Klein. “We plan to continue this important program with a new management team that will both improve the technology and efficiency of the program while saving operating expenses.”
Read more at DNA Info Chicago.
Story updated to reflect correct total contract amount.
According to the city, the cameras at these intersections will be decommissioned due to a dramatic decrease in right angle crashes at those locations.
“Automated traffic enforcement, whether through red-light or speed cameras, is about
changing drivers’ behavior,” said Mayor Rahm Emanuel via press release. “The cameras at these intersections are now showing a low level of crashes and dangerous angle crashes, which means an enhanced level of safety.”
But based on the total value of the contract, that number will probably grow to as many as 300.
The contract with Arizona-based American Traffic Solutions was finalized July 15 and has a potential to pay ATS $67 million over five years. Based on that dollar amount and the payment terms in the contract, it seems the city is poised to ultimately employ the maximum 300 speed cam locations allowed under the law.
While more than 1,500 “Children’s Safety Zones” — intersections within one-eighth of a mile from a school or park — were identified by the city, it’s only allowed to erect cameras at 20 percent of those locations. Although, according to the Chicago Department of Transportation, the initial 50 locations have not been finalized.
But according Charles Territo, spokesman for American Traffic Solutions, the company’s staff and contractors are now in Chicago and actively preparing for the imminent camera installations.
Read more at DNA Info Chicago.
Shockingly, he’s not upset.
Even more oddly, his $100 experience has actually sold him on using red light cameras as a traffic enforcement tool.
Chapman, somewhat of a libertarian in his political views, is a consistently contrarian voice in his columns and perhaps this may his most unique position yet.
In his piece, while originally doubting the veracity of the ticket, he watches himself online making a right turn on red without coming to a complete stop and realizes he screwed up.
While many people would still be angry, knowing that studies show crashes rarely happen when someone does what Chapman did making a right turn on red, he feels there’s one distinct advantage to RLCs–no cops.
Chapman makes the case that if a police officer stopped him for the infraction it would not only be expensive (like the RLC ticket) but he would have to endure 15 minutes or more of having to go through the ticketing process.
Essentially, he rationalizes his acceptance of a red light camera ticket by saying it is more convenient than getting ticketed by CPD.
Here’s Chapman’s full piece, “Red light cameras: My experience.”
Oh, and hear is a recent WGN Radio interview Chapman did on the subject of red light cameras.
The new deadline listed in a bid addendum dated May 10th, is now May 24th.
The City was confident its original deadline of April 16th, would give them ample time for a review of the bids, short list two potential vendors for pilot tests, perform a 30-day pilot, select a winning vendor and negotiate a contract by July 31st–when the current contract with Redflex Traffic Systems was supposed to expire.
A previous delay forced the City to admit it could not meet the July 31st deadline and extend the scandal plagued Redflex’s contract indefinitely until a new vendor could be selected and can transition to the new RLC system.
Critics say, a report released Tuesday by the Chicago Inspector General’s Office backs up their claims and, according to one alderman, undermines the basis for the program’s existence.
“Our audit uncovered little evidence that the overarching program strategy, guidelines, or appropriate metrics are being used to ensure the [Red Light Camera] program is being executed to the best benefit of the City or the general public,” the report summarized.
“Specifically, we found a lack of basic record keeping and an alarming lack of analysis for an ongoing program that costs tens of millions of dollars a year and generates tens of millions more in revenue.”
The inspector general’s office started an audit of the city’s extensive red light camera program earlier this year in response to revelations of an internal investigation by current vendor Redflex Traffic Systems. That investigation, headed by former Inspector General David Hoffman, alleges employees for Redflex may have bribed the former city official overseeing the city’s RLC program.
Read more at DNA Info Chicago.