A red light camera at the intersection of Sylvan and Coffee in Modesto, California. Cyrus Farivar

MODESTO, CA—Speaking in his downtown office, Mayor Garrad Marsh told Ars that he has lots of questions for Redflex, one of the largest red light camera (RLC) operators in the United States.
Years ago, when the Australian company’s cameras first came to this Central California agricultural city of 200,000 people, Marsh was a city council member who was generally positive on the idea of using automated cameras to catch drivers dangerously zooming through intersections at high speed. “Now, I’m not sure… to almost negative,” he said.
Modesto features an active downtown area replete with shops, city offices, taco trucks, and a transit center, but the city has expanded significantly to the north and east. That’s where Modesto seems to be miles after miles of flat, single-family homes, strip malls, and big box retailers. Drivers regularly blow through red lights at intersections on these long, straight streets.
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