The Difference Between Red Light Cameras & Traffic Cameras

Friday, February 18, 2011

redlights

red_light_camera_red_45x55Having trouble determining if that is a red light camera or just your typical traffic camera? Trapster is a user generated service, so we are depending on you to report accurate traps on the Trapmap, but with all the different models of these cameras, it is hard to be sure. Lets go over what these revenue raking machines look like.


What Red Light Cameras Look Like

These machines are constructed to take accurate pictures of license plates and sometimes even get a clear shot of the driver, in order to do this you will notice certain characteristics shared by most red light cameras:

1C

Flash: Not a good feeling when you try to beat a red light and flashes are going off like you are walking the red carpet. A positive indication that it is indeed a red light camera is the big flash bulb. Sometimes the flash is not attached to the camera, so you will really have to scope out the intersection for the location(s) of the separate flash unit(s).

2Glare control: You sport some sunglasses to help block out the sun, these cameras also need to block out some rays.You will notice these cameras have some sort of way to block out sunlight, headlights, etc. A hood will be over the lens, and/or an anti glare piece of plastic or glass will encase the lens.

3Multiple lenses: The photos vary from state to state, but these photos usually need: multiple shots of your vehicle violating the traffic signal, a shot of your license plate, and a clear shot of your beautiful face behind the wheel. So, another sure sign that it is indeed the dreaded red light camera is more than one lens.

Red_Light_w_numbers

Bulky: Red light cams usually have some size to them, like a big boxy metal case. This is to keep these cash cameras safe from natural elements and from someone going postal because they just received a $300 red light violation fine.


The Most Common Mistake

Now just because there is some sort of camera looking device perching on the traffic light bar, it doesn’t mean it is a red light camera. Most of the time these are just regular traffic surveillance cameras.

traffic camera on Flickr - Photo Sharing!-4

Notice there is no flash? No multiple lenses? Not too bulky…

Speed cameras are popping up all over the  U.S. Some states even use a combination camera which is able to monitor your speed and catch you running a red light. I know you can’t contain your joy about that little tid bit, but the harsh reality is it makes it even more confusing when reporting these cameras. But that’s a topic for another blog post.

For now we hope this helps you accurately report and be more aware of the red light cameras in your area. For some info on understanding trap types and confidence levels on the Trapmap, check out this previous blog post.

Now get out on the town and report all the red light cameras in your area!

Creative Commons photos from Flickr:  red light camera photos from Bayridgephantom, Jeffrey Beall, TheDamnMushroom, Wesgate Michelle, Sterlic, Eda Cherry functoruser, traffic camera from Spikephotos

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  • SparkedFire

    I have a problem were people have tagged and keep voting yes on intersections where there are traffic cameras and no red light cameras exist. People don't seem to understand the difference. There is also the occasional red light camera tagged in the middle of neighborhoods or where there isn't even an intersection. I think there should be some way to moderate posts and request removal of tagged locations or set them to no confidence.

    Great program though!

    • Help

      Just vote no and either PM a moderator or report suspected abuser so a moderator can look at the trap, or in the forums where again a moderator can look at the trap. Also a photo supporting such claim of improper trap placement couldn’t hurt.

    • Zeek Weeks

      yea, definitely an annoyance…

  • SparkedFire

    I have a problem were people have tagged and keep voting yes on intersections where there are traffic cameras and no red light cameras exist. People don't seem to understand the difference. There is also the occasional red light camera tagged in the middle of neighborhoods or where there isn't even an intersection. I think there should be some way to moderate posts and request removal of tagged locations or set them to no confidence.

    Great program though!

    • Help

      Just vote no and either PM a moderator or report suspected abuser so a moderator can look at the trap, or in the forums where again a moderator can look at the trap. Also a photo supporting such claim of improper trap placement couldn’t hurt.

    • Zeek Weeks

      yea, definitely an annoyance…

    • Jagjmxtk

      Check ur setting dude.

  • SparkedFire

    I have a problem were people have tagged and keep voting yes on intersections where there are traffic cameras and no red light cameras exist. People don't seem to understand the difference. There is also the occasional red light camera tagged in the middle of neighborhoods or where there isn't even an intersection. I think there should be some way to moderate posts and request removal of tagged locations or set them to no confidence.

    Great program though!

  • SparkedFire

    I have a problem were people have tagged and keep voting yes on intersections where there are traffic cameras and no red light cameras exist. People don't seem to understand the difference. There is also the occasional red light camera tagged in the middle of neighborhoods or where there isn't even an intersection. I think there should be some way to moderate posts and request removal of tagged locations or set them to no confidence.

    Great program though!

  • NightStalker

    I’ve stopped using Trapster, as it continues to run in the background on my iPhone. It drains the batteries like crazy, and warnings keep going off. Not much point in having it and having all the warnings set to “Off” either, to stop that behaviour.
    It needs an option for NOT running in the background under iOS, preferably set to that by default.

    • trapster

      Hi,

      You can set trapster to not run in the background. Simply tap settings, then slide the “background alerting” to “OFF”

      • NightStalker

        Thanks for the reply. Does that just turn the alerting off, or are the localisation services still running? In other words, is it still geotracking where I am?

        • Pete

          Background alerting off means no GPS usage, no data usage, no battery usage.

          • NightStalker

            That’s great – thanks for that. I can start using it again now :)

      • Itasara

        I don’t think my phone has a run in the background setting. I’ll have to check, but either locations are on or off. There may be a push setting, but I don’t know if it is for each individual app or not. I set my phone most of the time to G3 OFF. It then runs on E (under At&T) and that greatly reduces the battery drainage. It is a little slower than G3 but most of the time I don’t need it.

  • asian images

    It is the information that i was looking for

  • SkiMedicKC

    As you’re looking at the picture of the red light above, note the little black camera-like device right next to the signal? that is an Opticom sensor, and detects a specific frequency strobe used by emergency vehicles and will change the signal to allow the emergency vehicle through the intersection. The larger ‘camera’ mounted on the pole is not so much a camera as a sensor that detects vehicles waiting for the light to change. These are taking the place of the sensors embedded in the roadway. They are easier and cheaper to maintain than the road-mounted sensors. Neither one of these devices is an actual camera that outputs a visual image.

  • KIH

    Due to state statute, it is my understanding that there are no speed or red light cameras in the entire state of Virginia.

  • Tgrannell00

     ok so I drove right through a red light with the third camera contraption shown… did i just get a ticket?!?!

  • Anthony R

    Bottom line is that Trapster is still u.s.a based & so there’s not ENUFF Canadian traffic options, but beside that there just plain ain’t enuff bloody options for anything, u want people to be more specific then give us the ability too b.
    I love to use Trapster & use good portions of my data plan for it too.

  • Sheila k

    The red light cameras are at high volume intersections and almost ALL other crossings have trafiic cameras.Why does every block on all four sides down a LONG street need to be monitored?Why do we find these in quite neighborhoods?Why are we constantly being watched?IF the traffic camera is true lily for that purpose,wouldnt

  • Sheila k

    If the traffic cameras are only to show traffic flow,then why is there 4at each intersection?Wouldnt one every half mile be sufficient?Are we being watched under the preface of traffic flow and protection?I have nothing to hide and DON’T need to monitored!

  • Big Brother !

    YOU KNOW THE LITTLE CAMS ON TOP OF EVERY STOP LIGHT INTERSECTIONS AND SOMETIMES REGULAR LIGHTS ARE BIG BROTHER WATCHING YOU …YA ITS THE GOVERNMENT. FACT- ITS BEEN AROUND FOR A BIT NOT AND NOBODY REALLY KNOWS. ITS B.S AND WILL BE GETTING WORSE.

  • Charles

    I would like for the non red light cameras that I see here in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania and many other nearby places and even some places that are sort of far from there to catch video of everything that happens. Even if the red light runners don’t get tickets, it should be easier with the cameras to prove who ran a light if a collision would occur. Not all red light runners cause accidents but they take a very big risk of causing one after all, the lights change to allow other people to get through not have to sit there forever. In lots of places, people seem to go the exact second they get the green light (and they can and should go within a reasonable time after it is green). One thing I don’t like is people in the wrong place (in front of the white line). Another thing I don’t like is people who creep foreward (as if the light would change for them) but then they hardly even make an attempt to let anyone behind them get through also. I could go on forever with all the irritating habits some people have. Some are just not alert and some are pulling some kind of Shenanigans for insurance money and these are the main reason why people have dash cameras (not just in Russia where things are really awful.) Every day I keep thinking, I must get a dash camera. They can save you from being falsely accused of something or help sort of the details of an auto accident. They can also reveal the evil scamming pedestrians who run out and pretend to be hit, even if they were hit it may have been their fault entirely! Get a dash camera and it can show weather or not it was a scam. It likely is, I usually never have such bad luck but why wait for it and THEN get a dash cam? Get one BEFORE it happens because it won’t do any good AFTER it!

  • Shannon

    I was hit by a driver while turning right going east by a driver going east that totally blew the red light but i have no way of proving it. I would love if there was a red light camera there! There are 4 cameras there but i dont know what they do, probably nothing. If your not breaking the rules then why do you care about the cameras?! It would have helped me out tremendously :(

  • BlueNO

    So those little cameras dont do anything except servaliance and to keep people on their toes?

    • Trapster

      Exactly!

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