Drones to be trialed in New York for traffic and parking monitoring


Governor Andrew M Cuomo has announced that state-owned drones will be used for the first time to monitor weekend traffic conditions at the 2017 Great New York State Fair, as part of a multi-agency effort to help mitigate high vehicle volumes and make parking more efficient.

Weekends are traditionally the highest attended periods of the 13-day extravaganza, often with heavy traffic volumes and near-capacity parking lots. The new drone technology will help the New York State Police Department (NYSPD) and the New York State Department of Transportation (NYSDOT) better monitor traffic and parking lot capacity, allowing them do their jobs more effectively and reduce delays for fairgoers. The 2017 Fair runs from August 23 to September 4.

The drone technology is a joint effort between NYSDOT, the State Department of Environmental Conservation (DEC), and NYSPD. Operating under FAA guidelines by line of sight rules, with a range of approximately one mile, they will help provide enhanced situational awareness to assist with traffic management. NYSDOT will also direct traffic as needed through the use of Variable Message Signs (VMS) on Interstate 690, State Route 690, Interstate 81 and Interstate 481. The New York State Thruway Authority will also broadcast updates on their VMS network.

“The New York State Fair attracts visitors from all corners of the state and beyond, and we want fairgoers to enjoy all that it has to offer,” said Cuomo. “By using state-of-the-art drone technology, we will be able to better respond to changing traffic conditions and ensure a smoother travel experience for visitors. Investments in the State Fair led to record-breaking attendance last year, and we are committed to making this year’s Fair even better.”

Incoming NYS Thruway Authority executive director, Matthew Driscoll, commented, “As a lifelong resident of central New York, I know how much the Fair means to the people in this area. We are using every tool at our disposal to make getting to and from the Fair as seamless as possible in 2017. This new drone technology will help give us a brand new perspective on up-to-the-minute traffic conditions and parking lot capacity.”

NYSPD superintendent, George P Beach II, added, “This collaboration with our partners at DOT and DEC provides a new tool to monitor traffic conditions and make adjustments as needed. Our priority is to ensure a safe and steady flow of traffic, and the best possible experience for those visiting the Fair.”

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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).