The City of Regina is moving forward with a plan to expand its red light camera program.
On Wednesday, city council voted 8-2 to continue the program, expand it to more intersections and begin issuing tickets for rolling right turns at red lights.
The city currently has red light cameras at four intersections: Albert Street and Saskatchewan Drive northbound, Lewvan Drive and Dewdney Avenue, Albert Street and Parliament Avenue, and Saskatchewan Drive and Albert Street westbound.
There's no information in the report by administration on where the city will look to put new red light cameras, but it does say the plan is to target "problematic areas."
The program as it currently operates costs approximately $370,000 a year.
That includes $316,000 for the lease of the cameras along with operating and maintenance costs, and $54,000 to fund a traffic safety clerk with the Regina Police Service.
The report makes it clear the program doesn't break even, with yearly average revenue between 2019 and 2021 of $129,000 in fines.
That revenue is used to offset the cost of the program, with the rest covered through fees from the province's automated speed enforcement fund at a yearly average of $241,000.
"This doesn't net us money. So to folks who think this is a simple cash grab, it is not," said Ward 3 Coun. Andrew Stevens. "I think administration, in the data, makes clear that the balance is safety first."
Any new cameras are expected to have operating costs and revenues similar to existing cameras, resulting in a net cost of $43,750 per location per year, according to the report.
Program considered a success
The digital red light camera system was first installed at Regina intersections in 2018, with tickets being issued beginning in 2019.
After three years of data collection and analysis, the conclusion from SGI and city administration is that the system provides a net benefit to the public by preventing severe crashes and reducing collisions in general.
"I would suggest that with a 38 per cent reduction in collisions at the intersections where the red lights exist that that would be success," Mayor Sandra Masters told Stefani Langenegger on Thursday's edition of CBC's The Morning Edition.
LISTEN| Regina mayor talks about the future of red light cameras, the central library and Coun. Terina Shaw:
The cameras are already capable of recording video, meaning no major overhaul is required to start issuing tickets for rolling stops on right turns during red lights.
City administration says any new fines received due to rolling right turns will be used to offset the cost of the program. However, administration does not believe those fines will generate significantly more revenue.
Under the Traffic Safety Act, tickets issued for violating rules around red lights are $180, with a surcharge of $50, for a total fine of $230.
The city says it has issued a total of 3,818 red light violation tickets since 2019.
Request sent to province
As part of the vote on Wednesday, city administration will contact the provincial government about making changes to Saskatchewan's Traffic Safety Act.
The goal is to allow Regina and other municipalities to use red light cameras to issue tickets for "speeding on green."
That's when vehicles accelerate to get though an intersection to avoid a red light ticket.