116 3rd St SE
Cedar Rapids, Iowa 52401
CEDAR RAPIDS — The Cedar Rapids City Council has given a green light to continued operation of the city’s automated traffic cameras, extending the city’s contract for the system’s operation through June 30, 2027.
The council’s agreement with Beverly, Mass.-based Sensys Gatso USA, approved this past Tuesday, extends the current agreement, which would have expired at the end of this month.
The city uses 15 traffic cameras to enforce speed violations at four locations along Interstate 380 and to monitor red-light and speeding violations at five intersections in the city. The camera locations are posted on the city’s website.
Under the new contract, which can be extended for an additional two years, Sensys Gatso will be paid $18 for each paid speeding violation for the first three years of the contract and $17 for each paid speed violation after that.
The company is paid $22 for each red-light paid violation.
No changes are planned in the number of traffic cameras or their locations, said Amanda Grieder, the city’s public safety program manager.
Four speed cameras are on I-380 — where the interstate crosses at J Avenue NE and Diagonal Drive SW in the northbound lanes, and at J Avenue NE and First Avenue SW in the southbound lanes.
Five cameras monitor speed and red-light violations — First Avenue and 10th Street NE, First Avenue and L Street SW, Williams Boulevard and 16th Avenue SW, 42nd Street and Edgewood Road NE, and the intersection of Center Point Road and the Collins Road ramp on the north side of Highway 100.
The city’s contract with Sensys Gatso would only be rebid if either the company or the city terminates the agreement for cause, Grieder said in an email.
It is in the city’s best interests, she added, to continue with Sensys Gatso because of the city’s financial investment in the camera infrastructure and to “avoid a costly investment with another vendor.“
”In addition, transitioning to another vendor would require a lengthy transition period to remove equipment and install new equipment.“
To date, the traffic camera program has generated $7.43 million in revenue in fiscal 2022, which ends June 30. The cameras in April identified 14,443 violations, which generated $546,910.
The program’s revenue is used for public safety purposes. According to the city, in fiscal 2021 that included for 27 police officers, at $3.3 million; public safety equipment, at $628,000; and social justice programs, at $250,000.
Over the years, some lawmakers have attempted to regulate or ban the traffic cameras, which now are used in at least a dozen Iowa cities. City and police officials support the use of the devices, arguing the they reduce crashes and speeding.
The Cedar Rapids camera system has been operating since 2010. It was paused in 2017 at the direction of the Iowa Department of Transportation but reactivated in July 2019 after the Iowa Supreme Court twice dismissed challenges to their use.
The camera agreement has been extended eight times, Grieder said.