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Seattle DOT adding 57 new traffic cameras

The Seattle Department of Transportation (SDOT) will nearly double the number of traffic cameras providing real-time traffic information to both the city and the public, by adding 57 new units this year. The installation of these new CCTV cameras, which will be operational by early 2010, is just one of many enhancements occurring this year to the city’s Intelligent Transportation System (ITS). The ITS upgrades taking place now and into early 2010, will also increase the number of dynamic message signs (DMS) from three to 14 and add more fiber backbone connections between them. There will also be the installation of a wireless network operation system for traffic detection at some local intersections.

The public will also see improvements in SDOT’s online Traveler’s Information Map - www.seattle.gov/travelers - as it will soon be accessible via hand-held devices. The newly installed equipment requires a testing phase once construction is complete and is expected to be in service by the spring of 2010. One important benefit of the new ITS information is that it helps keep freight moving, which improves overall traffic flow for both freight and passenger vehicles. Ensuring trucks travel safely and efficiently to and from the Port of Seattle and the city’s two major industrial centers is vital to the region’s economy. This year, SDOT will re-time, or synchronize, a record number of traffic signals in 17 corridors throughout the city, as part of its five-year Signal Optimization Program. The result will be smoother and quicker trips for platoons of traffic, with maximum green-light time, especially through corridors that handle heavy volumes of freight.

Seattle has over 975 signalized intersections, many of which have been re-timed during the last five years. Work has already begun on a further 150 signals to be analyzed and re-timed as part of this synchronization effort. More than half of all signalized intersections in Seattle now have the newest control boxes which allow for up to 16 cycle options, which differ due to changing traffic patterns over the course of a day, and are interconnected to allow for coordinated communication between the intersections. “Crews are installing traffic cameras in Ballard, City Center, SODO and West Seattle this year, which will significantly address congestion when they come on-line,” says Seattle Department of Transportation director, Grace Crunican. “With more information available to our Traffic Management Center, we can immediately improve roadway conditions by remotely adjusting traffic signal timings or bridge operations. The public also benefits by accessing real-time traffic information through the Traveler’s Information website and electronic road signs.”

 

November 25, 2009

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