For discussion
on 9 July 1999


Transport Department
New Subhead "Expansion of Red Light Camera System"

    Members are invited to approve a new commitment of $16.2 million for expanding the red light camera system to other signalised junctions over the territory.


Red light jumping is a dangerous activity at signalised junctions and has contributed to the occurrence of the majority of cross-over traffic accidents.


2. We propose to acquire and deploy 12 additional digital red light camera units at signalised junctions over the territory at an estimated cost of $16.2 million to combat red light jumping.


3. Red light jumping remains a significant problem in Hong Kong. From 1993 to 1998, the average number of traffic signal offences was around 26 000 cases per year of which red light jumping constituted about 90%, and the number of red light jumping related accidents was around 365 cases per year. In the past three years, the average numbers of deaths and serious casualties per annum as a result of red light jumping were eight and 85 respectively.

4. The red light camera system was first introduced in Hong Kong in 1993 to deter drivers from red light jumping. The system was expanded in 1995 and 1996. The results showed that the number of violation cases at the red light camera sites was substantially reduced by about 43% to 55%. Overseas experience has also shown that the red light camera system can effectively deter red light jumping1.

5. The number of red light jumping offences per day is around 80 and the number of violation cases that have not been detected may be far greater. At present, we have a total of 13 red light camera units for deployment at 38 camera sites. The establishment of 13 additional red light camera sites with three new camera units will be completed within 1999-2000. In order to achieve a more comprehensive territory-wide deterrent effect, we need to expand the coverage of the red light camera system. We therefore propose to acquire 12 additional camera units to be deployed at 60 new camera sites in the coming three years at those signalised junctions with high occurrence of red light jumping activities/accidents or at other strategic locations over the territory.

6. The red light camera system operates with a portable digital camera unit, a camera pole with housing and a central computer unit in an office of the Hong Kong Police Force (the Police). The camera pole with the camera unit mounted inside the housing is installed on the footpath of a road at about 15 metres upstream of the junction, with detection devices laid on the carriageway near the stop line. The camera unit will be activated to take photographs of vehicles if there is red light jumping. The data will be stored in a computer diskette for downloading onto the central computer unit for identifying the licensed plate numbers of the offending vehicles, and subsequently retrieving the data of the relevant vehicle owners. The system will automatically print out the necessary documents such as photographs, letters requesting offending drivers' information, fixed penalty tickets, summons applications and notices of intended prosecution. The camera units will put the signalised junctions under 24-hour surveillance and substantially enhance deterrent effect and enforcement capabilities.

7. The camera units will be mounted on the sites on a rotational basis. In future, we will review the need to further expand the scheme to other areas and the related staffing requirements, having regard to the outcome of the present proposal and the use of automatic detection technology at that time.

8. The only alternative means of deterring red light jumping is by manual operation. A minimum of two Police officers are required to be positioned at a junction to check on red light jumping. Apart from being extremely manpower intensive, this method cannot provide concrete evidence to prove the case for contravention and will inevitably lead to disputes, whereas red light camera units can provide photographs as evidence. Furthermore, the red light camera system can be operated automatically 24 hours a day and such extent of enforcement could not be met by manual operation.


Non-recurrent cost

9. We estimate the total capital cost of the project to be $16.2 million, made up as follows -

$ million
(a) Camera system including housings and ancillary equipment
    (i) Digital camera units
    (ii) Camera poles and housings
    (iii) Power cubicles
(b) Computer system, software and ancillary equipment
(c) On-site installation (including civil works), testing, commissioning and training
(d) Electrical and Mechanical Services Trading Fund (EMSTF) charges and other services for project management
(e) Contingencies [10% of (a) to (d)]



10. As regards paragraph 9(a), the cost of $8.24 million is for the procurement of 12 digital red light camera units, each of which consists of a camera and a microprocessor for processing and storage of data; 63 housing and camera poles (including three spare sets) which are used to accommodate the camera units and to support the camera housings to appropriate elevated positions on site; and 63 power cubicles (including three spare sets) which are used for storage of electrical devices for power supply.

11. As regards paragraph 9(b), the cost of $0.65 million is for the setting up of a central computer unit with Optical Character Recognition and tailor-made software which is used for processing vehicle identification and linking up with the Police's Traffic Operation and Management System.

12. As regards paragraph 9(c), the cost of $4.57 million is for the installation of poles and power cubicles; laying of detector devices on carriageways and cable ducting and associated concrete boxes underneath the footpaths at 60 sites; testing and commissioning of the camera system after installation; and training of Police staff for the operation of the system.

13. As regards paragraph 9(d), the cost of $1.27 million is for meeting the charges by EMSTF for providing services in tendering, site supervision and testing and commissioning of electrical and mechanical works; and employing two additional contract staff for project management, liaison and supervision during delivery of the project.

14. The cashflow is estimated as follows -

Year$ million
2000-2001 2.40
2001-2002 6.80
2002-2003 7.00

Total 16.20


Recurrent cost

15.We will introduce the camera sites in phases and hand over these sites to the Police for immediate operation and future maintenance. The estimated additional annually recurrent cost of supporting and maintaining the expanded system is as follows -

and annually
(a) Equipment maintenance 0 0 0 780
(b) Staff cost 127 580 978 978

_____ _____ _____ _____
Total 127 580 978 1,758

_____ _____ _____ _____

16. As regards paragraph 15(a), the expenditure includes the cost for the hardware and software maintenance of the expanded system at the 60 camera sites upon full implementation from 2003-04 onwards.

17. As regards paragraph 15(b), the expenditure represents the full costs of additional staff that the Police require for the on-going operation of the expanded system. The Police need one additional Constable for 2000-01 and two additional staff (one Constable and one Clerical Assistant) from 2001-02 onwards to carry out investigation and enforcement of red light jumping cases. A detailed breakdown of the recurrent staff cost is at the Enclosure.

Implementation plan

18. We propose to implement the expanded system according to the following timetable -

ActivityScheduledcompletion date
(a) Tendering March 2000
(b) Contract commencement March 2000
(c) Site preparation June 2000
(d) Central computer system handover December 2000
(e) Camera system handover
    Phase 1 - 5 camera sites/1 camera unit
December 2000
    Phase 2 - 29 camera sites/5 camera units
December 2001
    Phase 3 - 26 camera sites/6 camera units
September 2002
(f) Contract completion September 2002


19. To strengthen enforcement and enhance road safety, we have, in the 1998 Policy Objectives, included initiatives of installing high technology equipment (e.g. speed enforcement system and red light camera system) at strategic locations and considering how best to apply automatic detection technology to improve the efficiency of information processing and prosecution. In 1991, 1993, 1995 and 1996, new commitments of $0.48 million, $3 million, $4 million and $6 million were created respectively under delegated authority to fund the installation of the red light camera system at a total of 51 sites.


Transport Bureau
June 1999

Enclosure to FCR(1999-2000)38

Breakdown of Recurrent Staff Cost for the Hong Kong Police Force

Year Police staff Numbers
Full staff cost
2000-2001 Sergeant 0 0
Constable 1 127
Clerical Assistant 0 0
Total 1 127
2001-2002 Sergeant 0 0
Constable 2 508
Clerical Assistant 1 72
Total 3 580
and thereafter
Sergeant 0 0
Constable 2 762
Clerical Assistant 1 216
Total 3 978

The staff are required to carry out enforcement and investigation work. Details are as follows.


2. One additional Constable is required from 2000-01 onwards to carry out enforcement work by mounting the camera units onto camera sites, unloading and reloading of the camera units to other sites after a period of time and monitoring the set-up of the necessary equipment. He will be supervised by the Sergeant overseeing the operation of speed enforcement camera system.


3. Two additional staff (comprising one Constable and one Clerical Assistant) are required from 2001-02 onwards to carry out investigation work for red light jumping cases, such as checking the identity of vehicle owners from the Vehicles and Drivers Licensing Integrated Data III system, issuing Pol 571 to request vehicle owners/offending drivers to confirm offending drivers' information, taking summons action when the offending drivers' identities are confirmed, locating vehicle owners or drivers for unclaimed Pol 571, ensuring documents contain all information required for court purpose and maintaining relevant records.

4. The staffing requirement is calculated on the basis of the expected number of red light jumping cases that would have to be handled.

2000-01 2001-02 2002-03 2003-04
Number of camera units installed 1 6 12 12
Number of expected cases per month 60 to 80 330 to 440 540 to720 360 to 480

Sergeant 0 0 0 0
Constable 0 1 1 1
Clerical Assistant 0 1 1 1
Total 0 2 2 2

5. Judging from past experience, each red light camera unit is expected to generate 60 to 80 cases for handling per month in the first year. The number of cases is expected to drop by 50% after the first year of operation. The output of a Constable/Clerical Assistant is estimated to be 200 cases per month. The staffing ratio in an investigation team is about one Sergeant to four Constables/Clerical Assistants. The two Constable/Clerical Assistants will be supervised by the Sergeant overseeing the operation of the speed enforcement camera system.

1. In Melbourne, there was a 30% reduction in right-angled collision accidents upon introduction of the red light camera system in 1983. In Singapore, a 40% decrease in signal violations was recorded in 1986 as a result of installing the system. A package of improvement measures (including red light camera system) in Australia has contributed to a reduction of fatalities in traffic accidents by more than 50% and prevention of about 10 000 serious injuries and 66 000 other injuries from 1990 to 1996.