Before contracting for cameras, the city should consider alternatives to them.
Any discussion of alternatives assumes that the city's interest in cameras is not for the revenue, but out of a sincere desire to improve safety.
One alternative to cameras is to lengthen the yellow light. A 2004 paper (fn. 2) showed a 69% decrease in violations when a yellow was increased from 4.0 seconds, to 4.5 seconds. There are many other studies (fn. 1) with similar results.
Lengthening the yellow also reduces severe accidents. A 2004 study (fn. 3) by the Texas Transportation Institute found, "…an increase in the yellow duration of 1.0 second is associated with an MF [crash frequency] of about 0.6, which corresponds to a 40 percent reduction in crashes."
A second alternative to cameras is to improve street markings. 2005 research (fn. 4) sponsored by Florida's Department of Transportation concluded that improving street markings near intersections reduced red light running by up to 74 percent without increasing the likelihood of rear end collisions (which cameras increase).
I hope the city will investigate alternatives before it installs cameras. But if it decides to install cameras, it should be careful about the compensation agreement with the camera vendor. In many other cities, the camera vendors have offered "cost neutral" contracts.
A typical "cost neutral" contract offers to protect the city by limiting the monthly amount owed to the camera company to the amount of money collected in fines, up to a monthly cap of roughly $6000 per camera. Unfortunately, such an arrangement gives the camera vendor an incentive to manipulate the system so that more tickets will be issued,
Something else that needs to be discussed ahead of time is whether there will be ticketing on rolling right turns.
1. http://thenewspaper.com/news/04/430.asp (Red Light Camera Studies Roundup)
2. http://scholar.lib.vt.edu/theses/available/etd-06242004-230619/unrestric... at page 67
3. http://thenewspaper.com/rlc/docs/04-alternatives.pdf at page 2-20
4. http://thenewspaper.com/rlc/docs/05-simulator.pdf at page 69