Red-light cameras are a progressive way to reduce auto collisions and increase police productivity, and the revenue they raise is required by law to go to traffic safety improvements, which can include upgrades to bike and pedestrian infrastructure. All the money is raised from people breaking the law, rather than useful economic activity, so there’s really no downside to 100% enforcement of the traffic laws. It’s a win-win.
Pittsburgh has been considering installing red-light cameras at some of its more dangerous intersections, and now Public Policy Polling is out with some fascinating survey results on political attitudes in Pittsburgh toward this policy.
A solid majority of residents (59-35%) support installing the cameras, and this is driven by lopsided support among women. Women support the cameras by a huge margin (68-27%), while men are only narrowly in favor (48-46%).
Women were more likely than men to think running red lights is a problem (58% of women vs. 40% of men), and they were more likely to believe that others would drive more carefully in the presence of red-light cameras (66% of women vs. 47% of men).
Asking how respondents expect other people to react to a policy is something pollsters often do to get more accurate statements of opinion. Poll respondents have been known to attribute better behavior to themselves than to others. In this case, 60% of women said they personally would be more careful around cameras, and 44% of men did – a bit lower than how they expected others to respond.
Women were also more likely than men to support red light cameras if the cameras could be used to help catch other crimes like rapes and murders (78% of women, and 51% of men). Overall, 66% of respondents were more likely to support the cameras if they’d be useful for helping solve other crimes, versus 18% who were less likely.
Every demographic group supports installing the red-light cameras, but especially young people between 18-29 and registered Democrats.
You can check out the full cross-tabs here.