Last year, Mayor Bloomberg put a revolutionary traffic congestion plan in place in midtown Manhattan that covered 23 intersections and 110 blocks. The $1.6 million program was designed to alleviate a traffic problem that costs New York an estimated $13 billion annually.
At the city’s traffic command center in Queens, wireless technology was introduced that gathered data from microwave sensors, traffic video cameras and EZ-Pass readers at those 23 intersections. The real-time data would be used to identify traffic jams as they occur, giving the command center operators the knowledge to change traffic signals with the click of a mouse, lengthening green lights to ease road flow.
And guess what?
Travel speeds since the implementation have improved by ten percent; over a four month period last year on Madison Avenue, the average speed of cars traveling the road between 8 AM and 8 PM was 7.9 mph, up from 6.9 mph the week before the program began.
So Mayor Bloomberg is doing what every progressive metropolitan mayor in America should do when you reduce congestion; he’s pumping more money into the digital program and expanding it.
With an extra $4.9 million at his disposal, Bloomberg is using 40 percent of the funds to add 200 wireless traffic controllers that will allow the city to change more traffic signals remotely.
Have you ever felt like you were able to will lights to stay green, or magically turn the verboten red to a deeper shade of Yankee Stadium’s infield? Well, now you can (kind of), just by clogging midtown intersections!
As New York City’s traffic problems ease, so do the rest of the country’s. Or at least this should be the case, what with the real evidence of technology helping in the all-consuming fight against traffic.
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