Arizona DOT deploys remote-monitoring system to keep Maricopa’s traffic flowing


The Arizona Department of Transportation (ADOT) is continuing the expansion of its wireless communication systems around the state, which allow it to monitor and control traffic flow from its headquarters in Phoenix.

With the city of Maricopa’s population and traffic increasing, ADOT has installed a wireless communication system allowing technicians in Phoenix to monitor conditions on State Route 347 and adjust traffic signal timings accordingly. The system starts with a series of infrared (IR) and video cameras installed at each SR 347 intersection through Maricopa, allowing an ADOT technician in Phoenix to see exactly what is happening, and modify the length of traffic signal red and green timings to improve the overall traffic flow.

Another part of the system automatically monitors travel times between intersections using Bluetooth wi-fi signals, such as those from smartphones and in-car navigation and infotainment systems. The anonymized information can alert ADOT technicians to delays and incidents.

ADOT has deployed similar systems in other parts of the state recently, which are used to remotely monitor traffic signals in Nogales, along State Route 77 in the Tucson area, and in the Phoenix metropolitan area, with another one planned for installation in Safford next year. The wireless communications technology was installed in Maricopa during the summer. Over the coming months, researchers from the University of Arizona will evaluate how cost-effective the system has been.

“We’re working to make the best use of the existing road through Maricopa and improve traffic flow and safety,” said ADOT traffic engineer Mark Poppe. “While drivers will experience a better commute with this new system, our work is not done. The data will allow us to continuously measure performance and make adjustments that improve mobility.”

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About Author


Tom has edited Traffic Technology International (TTi) magazine and its Traffic Technology Today website since May 2014. During his time at the title, he has interviewed some of the top transportation chiefs at public agencies around the world as well as CEOs of leading multinationals and ground-breaking start-ups. Tom's earlier career saw him working on some the UK's leading consumer magazine titles. He has a law degree from the London School of Economics (LSE).