Red Light Camera Program

About the program

Quick links

View/pay a citation

NOTE: There is a $2.00 convenience fee for online Red Light Camera citation payments. The fee is automatically added during the online transaction.

Program background

In the early 1990s, Howard County Police recognized that there was a problem in our community. Our citizens were being injured and sometimes killed in intersection crashes. The department decided to utilize a problem-oriented policing approach to address the issue. In partnership with traffic engineers and community members, the Howard County Police and Traffic Engineering departments analyzed crashes and the environment in which they occurred.

Ultimately, Howard County decided to take the step of enforcing red light violations by using automated camera systems. In 1998, the county established a unique public-private partnership to create a successful automated enforcement strategy, resulting in the first red light safety program in Maryland.

Howard County Police reached out to other police jurisdictions and currently operate the Regional Automated Enforcement Center (RAEC), where there are currently 10 police agencies spanning five Maryland counties working together to adhere to the highest standards, integrity and quality control established by Howard County.

 

FAQs

Where are red light cameras located in Howard County?

Brokenland Parkway at Cradlerock Way
Brokenland Parkway at Snowden River Parkway
Brokenland Parkway at Stevens Forrest Road
Cedar Lane at Freetown Road
Cedar Lane at Hickory Ridge Road
Dobbin Road at Dobbin Center Way
Governor Warfield Parkway at Windstream Drive
Little Patuxent Parkway at Banneker Road
Little Patuxent Parkway at Brokenland Parkway
Little Patuxent Parkway at Columbia Road
Little Patuxent Parkway at Governor Warfield Parkway
Snowden River Parkway at Berger Road
Snowden River Parkway at McGaw Road
Snowden River Parkway at Oakland Mills Road
Snowden River Parkway at Dried Earth Boulevard
U.S. 1 at Corridor Road/Howard Street
U.S. 40 at Ridge Road
U.S. 40 at St. Johns Lane
NOTE: Locations subject to change

How many red light cameras are currently in operation in Howard County?
As of 2020, there are 26 red light safety camera sites monitoring 18 intersections in Howard County. In sum, the county has installed 50 sites since the program's inception in 1998. Many of the sites were subsequently de-activated when red light running and collisions decreased sufficiently at the locations.

How do red light cameras work? 
Howard County Police use at least two different technologies in the Red Light Camera Program. At some intersections, above-ground LIDAR/laser technology monitors an approaching vehicle's position and speed as it nears the white stop line at an intersection. At other locations, radar technology is used to perform the same function. If either the laser or radar technology recognizes an approaching vehicle is exceeding a preset threshold speed prior to the intersection, the camera system initiates a photograph sequence. The camera first captures a wide-angle photograph of the vehicle before it enters the intersection with the traffic signal clearly illuminated red. Shortly thereafter, the camera captures another photograph of the vehicle in the intersection with the traffic signal still illuminated red. Depending on the site's technology, a photograph of the license plate may be cropped from one of the two wide-angle images, or a secondary narrow-angle camera may capture a dedicated license plate photograph. While some camera sites utilize a flash, others may be flashless. In 2009, Howard County upgraded all its red light safety cameras to include full motion video evidence to accompany the still-photographs. A multi-step review process occurs prior to issuing each and every citation and it is ultimately trained Howard County police civilians who make the final determination if the criterion to issue a citation was met.

How often are camera locations assessed? 
Dedicated Red Light Camera Program personnel are constantly assessing all active camera locations, and reviewing the quantity of red light running incidents and citations issued. Moreover, the Howard County Police and Traffic Engineering departments regularly consider what intersections may warrant the introduction of red light safety cameras based on crash data. Before a camera is installed, traffic engineers have attempted to eliminate red light running collisions by altering signal timing or adjusting traffic flow in another manner. Adding a camera is the final solution after other engineering measures have been attempted.

How is revenue from the Red Light Camera Program allocated?
Red Light Camera Program revenue is allocated in Howard County’s General Fund.

How many red light camera citations have Howard County issued in recent years?
2014 = 30,886
2015 = 38,073
2016 = 34,695
2017 = 31,887
2018 = 36,870
2019 = 35,622

What does a red light camera look like? 
The cameras and detection devices are mounted on dedicated metal poles prior to and/or after an enforced intersection approach.

Do red light cameras reduce red light running at intersections where they are used? 
A 2019 Howard County analysis revealed that red light running at enforced sites has reduced by 62 percent when compared to the sites' initial activation.

Can the cameras be used to enforce other violations, such as not wearing a seat belt, texting while driving or speeding? 
No. Maryland law prohibits the use of red light cameras for any other purpose other than enforcing red light camera violations.

If I come to a stop after the white line, will I be issued a citation? 
If a vehicle crosses completely over the white stop line while facing a red signal, a violation has occurred and a citation may be issued. However, if the driver only partially crosses the stop line before coming to a stop, Howard County Police will not issue a citation.

If I am in the intersection when the light turns red, will I be issued a citation? 
No. If your vehicle has crossed the white stop line and entered the intersection while the light is amber (yellow) and then the light turns red while the vehicle is still in the intersection, a citation will not be issued.

Will I be issued a citation for not coming to a stop before making a right turn on red? 
Howard County red light cameras do not monitor right turn lanes. However, if a police officer observes a vehicle failing to make a complete stop at a red light before making a right tu