PORTLAND, Ore. (KOIN) — Mats Järlström’s emotions were clearly visible Friday morning. After years of arguing red light traffic cameras are flawed, the official Journal of the Institute of Transportation Engineers said he was right.
The ITE sets traffic policy recommendations for the United States — and they said cities should be using his formula.
“It is a big deal,” Järlström told KOIN 6 News. “It’s the top.”
Six years ago he tried to tell the Beaverton City Council there’s a problem with its red light cameras. Then there was the State of Oregon, which fined him for practicing engineering without a license.
He had to file a federal lawsuit to continue his research to prove drivers making turns at intersections often get caught in a dilemma when they’re slowing down to make a turn and the yellow light isn’t long enough.
Järlström said he used 8th-grade math skills to prove drivers have been getting tickets they can’t avoid.
He agreed that people tried to marginalize him but he was right.
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“The problem is if you have a system in place and they have done something for a long time, and you say that’s wrong, it’s pretty hard for someone within that system then to admit they have done something wrong for such a long time.”
“It’s very emotional,” he said. “It’s been a long battle.”
Later in March, ITE will put out a more detailed and technical report for its thousands of members around the world about their new recommendations. But that’s what they are — recommendations.
Cities like Beaverton don’t have to use the new formula.