Auckland Transport and the Police are running a 2 week campaign against red light running, but only at four intersections.

Red light running is the focus of a major 2 week long road safety operation, launching in Auckland’s Waitemata District on Monday 16 May, coinciding with the start of Road Safety Week.

The operation is a joint initiative between Police, Auckland Transport and NZ Transport Agency.

Police will target those motorists who take risks at 4 key high-risk intersections in the District, during peak morning traffic.

Police and AT staff will work together to monitor and identify offending in real time, while Police and AT education and enforcement teams will stop those identified at the roadside.

Waitemata Road Policing Manager Inspector Trevor Beggs says the education and enforcement operation aims to reduce crashes at intersections and subsequent traffic congestion.

“In Auckland between 2010-2014, 55 people died and 737 people were seriously injured in intersection crashes. That is far too many families changed forever by the loss of a loved one, and literally hundreds of Kiwis who live with a disability for the rest of their lives,” says Mr Beggs.

“We need to educate motorists around intersection safety. If they’re patient and obey traffic signals we can prevent these totally avoidable deaths and serious injuries.”

Auckland Transport’s Community Transport Manager Claire Dixon says the intersections were selected because of their location, crash risk, traffic flow and ability to monitor by AT through its CCTV network.

Police and AT staff will respond appropriately to motorists caught running red or amber lights. Police staff will apply discretion when dealing with individual motorists, which may result in education or enforcement action.

Ms Dixon says crashes are just part of the problem. “We have to work on the attitude of drivers towards red light signals. Drivers need to get the message that by running red lights they are putting themselves, their passengers and others in danger.”

The 4 intersections involved are:

  • Onewa Rd/Highbury Bypass/Birkenhead Ave.
  • Albany Expressway/Dairy Flat Highway/Oteha Valley Rd/Albany Highway.
  • Glenfield Rd/Bentley Ave.
  • Taharoto Rd/Northcote Rd.

Red Light Enforcement - road safety week 2016

This raises a few questions for me:

  1. With only four intersections being targeted and all four on the North Shore just how effective will this campaign be?
  2. Are they effectively saying that drivers on the North Shore run red lights more than in other parts of the city? I know that when I ride to work I certainly see it happening a lot on the North Shore.
  3. Last year seven red light cameras were installed at various places around the city, most were in East Auckland. Why not expand that network and monitor these intersections all of the time?
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  1. At the Northcote and Taharoto road interchange, turning left from Takapuna on to Northcote road, lots of drivers in the morning rush try to bypass the jam in the left turn lane. Staying in the straight ahead lane and turning left at the crossroads. End up going across the pedestrian crossing at the same time as green man. Hope they crack down on that too.

    1. They’ve actually been monitoring it on a regular basis. You know when they’re there, because the traffic is extra-bad.But AT should really sort something out there. I reckon they should make the middle lanes on Northcote Rd into Transit lanes (T2) and change them into turning to the citybound on-ramp, there are 2 lanes on the on-ramp, so why no prioritise higher occupancy vehicles, just like Onewa Rd.

    2. If that happens instead of looking to punishments ask yourself why it happens. And then address the root cause, the roading / traffic lights issue.

      1. The root cause is that people are forced to be in congestion because there are no other options and they expect to never be punished for it.

      2. And punish. The road design / congestion issues are reasons why people might be tempted to do it. The reason that anyone actually does it is that they’re a dick.

    3. And given the schools nearby, that’s a very bad place for that to happen.

      Good luck though with convincing people to wait in that queue if they don’t actually have to go to the motorway.

  2. Why not a dedicated team that cracks down all year round at intersections not just for 2 weeks, or you know do what’s tried and true and finally re-install and expand the red light camera network. Certainly there is vast scope to target intersections in the central city which see red light runners in every single cycle routinely.

    1. I agree that it is a huge problem, but for the police its all about resourcing. They are massively under funded, and all their work has to be prioritized. If its a choice between family violence and red light runners, FV always get priority (and rightly so).

        1. Blitzes like that (perhaps ones without announcing it) end up with plenty of tickets surely? – so this revenue can drive these, can’t it… once that revenue stops coming in, move onto another location, and once that runs out, then they would know that they’re doing a good job. Reminds me of the speed camera lottery in Sweden :

          1. The police can’t use fines as funding. They go into a hypothecated fund. The outcomes of funding police through fines tend to be particularly perverse. Plus a red light camera is cheaper than 3 days of enforcement.

    2. I would love to see a crackdown on phone use too. All police would need to do is walk up alongside drivers waiting at lights and hand out tickets one after the other. I ride my bike to work and literally >50% of people are staring at their phones.

      Also, to get to my house (when driving) I often have to wait to turn right into my street, and at this point I am totally stationary, waiting for a gap in the traffic. Because I am stationary, if an oncoming car drifts into me there is absolutely nothing I can do. However, the number of times I’ve seen drivers head down, looking at phone whilst driving past has led me to change my route home to avoid the need to wait here. It is only a matter of time before a distracted driver, drives headfirst into a stationary vehicle IMO.

      There is an emerging culture of selfishness that is occurring in NZ, and these are a couple of examples of the manifestation of that. IMO>

      1. I don’t know about an emerging culture of selfishness — it’s more that smartphones are really compelling devices because of the intermittent reinforcement principle. It is really very hard not to check a phone that’s within reach, particularly if it’s bleeping or flashing that there is something of interest.

        We could and should promote a culture of putting your phone in the glove box or on the back seat, so you can’t yield to the temptation to check.

  3. Agreed that there should be cameras but there also needs to be some analysis done as to why there is so much red light running (particularly when AT/Police seem to be suggesting that some intersections are a lot worse than others). Near me the problem seems worst when there are very long orange phases and a long time between the red and the oncoming green, basically it seems that if people know they can ‘get away’ with it then they’ll just ignore the lights often to the point of driving through pedestrian phases.

  4. Red light enforcement is really easy to automate, with camera’s etc. Police resources are stretched enough as it is, I would prefer to see their time spent elsewhere, with the red light running issue handled largely by cameras.

  5. I hope AT monitor those lights phasing as well. A couple of mornings ago I sat at a red on Glenfield Rd whilst Bentley Ave was green with no cars. I sat there and sat as did others there waiting for that ghost car to emerge from Bentley Ave but it never did. Eventually, and I don’t know why, the lights changed. A very typical day using Auckland’s traffic light controlled intersections that operate on a random basis without logic being involved.

    1. Almost every signalised intersection in Auckland has induction sensors. They detect a change in magnetic field (flux) when a vehicle arrives at the light (sometimes before it does) and it changes the signal accordingly taking into account pre-set timings and pre-set priorities. That can change during the day too. Some of them in CBD can be overridden manually from a control centre, but most are timing and sensors… so your situation sounds to me like faulty sensors. You can report them to Auckland Transport.

    2. Agreed waspman. A lot of the issue is down to poor light phasing. Penalising drivers is lazy and avoids instigating proper solutions.

      1. Reckless driving is just that. If people can’t control their behaviour to the point that they allow frustration to make them drive recklessly, they shouldn’t have a licence.

  6. What will they do to pedestrians who just cross when they feel like it? Nothing I hope…we are not the ones who are driving death traps

  7. Tristram Ave and Wairau Rd would have to be the worst for red light runners on the Shore. There would one or two per traffic light cycle typically.

    1. What will they achieve? cyclist probably don’t even carry an ID so issuing them tickets will be pointless since there is no way of tracking them down for the offence

      1. a) cyclists must give correct name and details when stopped for a traffic offence, can only avoid traffic offence by committing criminal offence.

        b) cyclists do not run red lights at a higher rate than motorists and have never killed another human by doing so (in NZ), while I hope that cyclists running reds are also ticketed your comment is clearly based on assumption rooted in ignorance.

        1. What about pedestrians? Onewa-Birkenhead, Glenfield-Bentley are known for Jaywalkers especially outside the mall areas…surely they’re only cracking down on cars in this situation

          1. Crossing the road isn’t a crime in NZ. Road code encourages you to use pedestrian crossings, but you’re not legally obliged to.
            Jaywalking is a term dreamed up by the auto industry in the 1920s in the states to encourage right of way of their products on the city streets and force pedestrians from the whole roadway onto the narrow footpaths.

        2. Sailor boy, the fact that cyclists dont run red lights at a higher rate than motorists is irrelevant, are you suggesting there is a double standard?

          The fact that a cyclist hasnt yet killed anyone (in NZ!) is a ridiculous comment, surely we should be being proactive on these sort of things. There is always the possibility of a ped getting killed if they are crossing the road and a cyclist whacks them anf they fall over and smack their head onthe floor.

          Also lets not forget the cyclists that have killed themselves by making bad decisions, if anything education is a great thing to highlight the risks of running red lights on a bike. One death is too many for the sake of savinga few minutes.

          If everybody followed the rules it would be great.

  8. Oh yes. It took me a while to figure out for how many seconds you “should” keep driving after the light goes amber/red. It would be much clearer with some enforcement—just stop for the red light. We do that very successfully in Europe. Red light cameras are standard equipment on signalised crossings over there.

    The red light runners, let me guess, that’s people running the red light when turning right.

    Traffic lights seem to have variable timings, and the bad news is that from time to time they use a different variation than usual for the time of the day. That traffic light on Birkenhead Avenue, every once in a while it is in a mode where it only gives green for a couple of seconds at the time for traffic turning right from Glenfield towards Birkdale. When that happens, you get a long queue of cars waiting to turn right, which eventually blocks the other traffic on Birkenhead Ave. At least you can bypass that queue on a bicycle.

    Is there actually a lot of thought going into the timing of those signals? What is the rationale behind these short right turn phases? You can’t tell people to turn left 3 times, the North Shore is a place where going around the block often means a few kilometres around the block.

    1. I’m pretty sure the sensor is broken there. It frequently gave no phase in a cycle when I was living nearby and traffic would have to go straight through the lights and through Highbury shops!

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