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Joe Ferguson on City’s Red Light Cameras

IG Audit Reveals City’s Red Light Camera Program Was “Fundamentally Deficient”

City Inspector General Joe Ferguson goes in depth about his audit of the city's beleaguered red light camera program, which is found to have collected millions in tickets from drivers because of curious changes to protocols. 

In July, the Chicago Tribune reported thousands of Chicago drivers had received $100 red light fines they didn’t deserve during a sudden series of spikes in tickets. The Tribune analysis focused on 12 intersections that experienced the most striking spikes. According to the Tribune report, Chicago Department Transportation officials were not aware of these anomalies until notified by the Tribune, and CDOT officials could not explain the spikes in tickets.

View a map of those 12 intersections below. Click on the intersections to learn more about the sudden spikes detailed by the Tribune

Following the Tribune’s report, the mayor and members of the City Council requested the Office of the Inspector General to review the city’s red light camera program to “better assess the program generally and the issues identified in the Chicago Tribune’s report in particular,” according to Ferguson’s review.

In order to provide a quick response, the Office of the Inspector General conducted a limited scope review rather than a comprehensive audit, which would’ve taken more time to complete. The OIG’s review did not include the validity of individual violations captured during enforcement anomalies, which was the focus of a separate review conducted by the City with the help of a contractor. The OIG’s goals were to,
“determine the contract parameters and document historical management of the red light camera program; ensure that the system was and is operating pursuant to the applicable contract provisions; and ascertain if Chicago Department of Transportation is equipped to identify and expeditiously address ticketing anomalies and other problems in the future.”

The OIG review revealed that CDOT’s management of the red light program under Redflex Traffic Systems, Inc. “was insufficient to identify and resolve the types of issues identified in the Tribune report.” The review went on to say CDOT has taken steps to improve its management of the program under its new contract with Xerox State & Local Solutions, Inc.

“CDOT identified likely proximate causes for three of the twelve intersections specifically named in the Tribune report,” the OIG report states. “OIG reviewed CDOT’s findings regarding these locations and found them consistent with source documentation and available records.”

View a map of the three locations detailed in the OIG report. Click on the intersections to learn more about the possible causes for spikes in tickets.