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Top tourism area uses Aldis's GridSmart to manage traffic congestion

Aldis has announced that its GridSmart system is helping to manage traffic congestion along a busy corridor in Sevierville, Tennessee. One of the top tourism destinations in the USA, the area boasts more than 13 million visitors annually; the city of Sevierville is known as the Gateway to the Great Smoky Mountain Tourism Area, which includes Pigeon Forge, Gatlinburg, and the Great Smoky Mountain National Park. The city had previously relied on inductive loops for vehicle detection along its main corridor, Highway 66. Although the loops worked well, maintenance proved almost impossible given the volume of vehicles traveling along the corridor. Further compounding the problem was a construction project to add lanes for additional capacity, which required lane shifts, making the use of loops even less practical.

The city chose to deploy the GridSmart system at one of the busiest intersections in the heart of Sevierville and quickly saw the benefit. The system couples an ultra-wide-angle camera for panoramic imaging of the entire intersection with advanced algorithms for real-time tracking of vehicles, trucks, buses, bicyclists and pedestrians, which allows dynamic and adaptive intersection control. “There were many benefits that were obvious: the ease of installation; reduction of equipment and cost; the ability to redraw detection zones anywhere within the camera’s 360° view to accommodate the lane shifts taking place; and the annual savings that we would realize in maintenance,” stated Bryon Fortner, the city’s director of public works. “The traffic data available from the new system was an added benefit to us, as we are frequently asked for counts for tourism purposes, as well as construction planning.”

Now, less than one year later, there are seven GridSmart-equipped intersections. “We have a couple of additional intersections that we want to transition from video detection over to the new system,” Fortner added. When considering the ongoing maintenance expenses with loops – and the high initial purchase and install costs of traditional video – the city is realizing projected savings between US$125,000 and US$175,000 over the next 10 years by deploying GridSmart at these seven locations. In addition to the projected savings and enhanced functionality, it has contributed to an 80% reduction in police overtime associated with traffic control, an improvement in travel time through the corridor, the availability of real-time traffic data for better decision-making, and reduced hardware on the roadway.

January 5, 2011

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