A Canadian leader in traffic systems technology has launched a free survey and guide to help cities improve the flow of traffic by gauging a road network’s relative strengths and recommending ways that it can be improved.
The evolution of smart traffic technology is helping a growing number of cities address traffic congestion. Intelligent transportation system (ITS) technologies are giving them more tools to collect better data, improve monitoring, and in some cases, automate freeway management, traffic signal optimization, incident and event management, and failure responses. The National Transportation Operations Coalition’s ‘2012 Traffic Signal Report Card’ found that while states and local governments are making progress managing and operating North America’s (approximately) 340,000 traffic signals, improvement and investment in traffic signal operations remains critical to improving performance and service for drivers.
Miovision has been conducting an annual peer survey on the state of traffic signals across North America for several years. Most recently, traffic signal connectivity was the top five-year goal of respondents, and is a critical foundation for ITS and ‘smart’ traffic signals. While 48% of intersections were reported to be connected, respondents had a desired connectivity level of 81%. Once signals are connected and traffic signal data is attained, cities will need a solution to monitor the state of the traffic network.
Miovision has developed a simple self-evaluation tool, the ‘MyCitySmarts’ survey. Once a city or agency representative completes the survey, they are given a customized infographic with an overall smart traffic signal score and in-depth breakdown in four key areas, including: building an ITS master plan; adopting the right technologies to meet goals; evaluating traffic signal system performance; and openly sharing traffic data with stakeholders. Whether the city scores in the red, yellow or green, they will be given tangible steps to accelerate smart traffic adoption, such as developing a master plan, upgrading technology, training staff or adopting an open data policy.
“While a lot of cities are starting to investigate smart traffic technology, many simply don’t know where to start,” said Dave Bullock, managing director of ITS at Miovision. “It can be a daunting task. The MyCitySmarts survey will help them identify their challenges and how to overcome them. By comparing responses different stakeholders within the city, it can help ensure that teams are on the same page when it comes to setting priorities and implementing changes.”
The City of Atlanta’s CIO, Kirk Talbott, commented, “In 2008, we adopted the ‘Connect Atlanta Plan’, a plan for transportation investment priorities for a 25-year period. Now, eight years into the implementation the MyCitySmart survey confirms that the city is on the right track. We are committed to intelligent transportation here in Atlanta, because we know it makes a difference to our residents. This survey is a great tool not only to keep all of us on the same page, but also to help us consider new emerging technologies, and tools that could help us achieve our goals.”