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The most lucrative red light cameras in Chicago

Written by
Clayton Guse

There are 174 red light cameras in the city, and Chicagoans hate all of them. These photo-enforced intersections are a hot topic in this year's mayoral debates. Rahm wants them to stay; his opponents disagree.

At $100 per citation, these cameras burn a huge hole into Chicago drivers' pockets. How big of a hole, exactly? According to a new dataset from the city's data portal, there were more than 267,000 red light camera violations during the second half of 2014. Granted, not all of those violations lead to paid citations, but it's safe to estimate that the cameras raked in somewhere in the ballpark of $20 million during the past six months.

While none of the cameras were installed under Rahm's administration, that eight-figure price tag makes it easy to see why he wants to keep them around—especially at a few profitable intersections.

The data shows that the 10 intersections with most red light camera violations during the last half of 2014 are:

1. Lake Shore Drive and Belmont Avenue: 8,136 violations

2. Cicero Avenue and I-55: 6,826 violations

3. Van Buren Street and Western Avenue: 6,596 violations

4. California Avenue and Diversey Avenue: 5,768 violations

5. Hollywood Avenue and Sheridan Road: 4,497 violations

6. State Street and 79th Street: 4,289 violations

7. Halsted Street and Division Street: 4,074 violations

8. Archer Avenue and Cicero Avenue: 4,031 violations

9. Lafayette Avenue and 87th Street: 3,926 violations

10. Wentworth Avenue and Garfield Boulevard: 3,867 violations

These locations are not incredibly surprising. Belmont Avenue and Lake Shore Drive tends to be a mess, especially when express buses are entering and exiting the drive. The two intersections on Cicero Avenue are near Midway Airport, which leads one to believe that more than a few travelers have dropped an extra $100 to catch their flights. 

For a more detailed look at the red light camera violations from the second half of 2014, check out the interactive map and table below.

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