Each of the speed cameras, 11 to exact, throughout Pima County, have been shut off and will be removed before the end of the month after the Pima County Board of Supervisors decided not to renew its contract with American Traffic Solutions on Jan. 5.
Pima County Administrator Chuck Huckelberry said while the county was initially looking for a system-wide speed reduction system, the effectiveness of the speed cameras dwindled over the four-year period in which the cameras were used.
Part of that was due to the fact that once people familiarized themselves with the camera locations they would slow down temporarily.
For the county, that meant less citations, and in turn, less money for a system that a large number of county residents already didn’t agree with. Public opinion played a large part in the board’s decision not to renew its contract, according to Huckelberry.
“They (the board) listened to a lot of public opinions on the program over the years – most of it was negative,” said Huckelberry. “It is clear the public generally does not accept photo enforcement and would prefer conventional face-to-face enforcement with law enforcement.”
The number of photo radar citations in 2009 (39,997) was reduced by about 50 percent by the end of last year.
“We never really made much money,” said Huckelberry. “At the end of the day, after court costs, we probably broke even.”
According to Pima County Department of Transportation Director Priscilla Cornelio, the county’s net revenue from speed cameras in 2011-12 was $535,370. That number was cut to $370,888 in fiscal year 2012-13 and continued a downward trend from there.
While Pima County was one of, if not the first Arizona jurisdiction to do away with speed cameras, it’s unlikely they’ll be the last.
“I’m sure others will follow,” said Huckelberry.
A petition is currently under way in Tucson to put red light cameras on a 2015 ballot with the ultimate goal of eliminating them.