In advance of winter weather conditions, Governor Andrew M Cuomo has announced that nearly 300 additional electronic message boards and traffic cameras have been installed along major highway corridors in New York State.
The new highway cameras and Variable Message Signs (VMS) are part of the Governor’s ambitious initiative to improve communication with the traveling public, enhance safety, and promote greater situational awareness among motorists and traffic system managers. The initiative is part of the Governor’s proactive approach to managing traffic during heavy snowstorms, extreme weather, vehicular crashes, and other events that impact travel. As part of the initiative, the New York State Department of Transportation (NYSDOT) has installed and activated an additional 125 cameras and 143 VMS units at critical locations along the state’s major traffic corridors, including: Interstate 81, I-84, I-86, I-87/Northway, I-88, I-490, and Buffalo metropolitan area highways.
With the new equipment in place, there are now 1,150 agency cameras and more than 550 VMS boards connected to NYSDOT’s 10 Transportation Management Centres (TMCs) and publicly accessible via the 511NY website, mobile app and telephone service. The additional message signs boost the agency’s reach in announcing and updating snowstorm-related travel bans, particularly for long-haul truck operators, as well as providing timely information to motorists already on the road.
The New York Thruway Authority has also deployed an additional 25 new portable VMS units across its 570 miles (917km) long system ahead of the snow and ice season. The portable VMS boards have been distributed across the Thruway’s four Divisions statewide and will be strategically redeployed as necessary. The Thruway Authority now has 78 permanent and more than 120 portable VMS across the state that can display urgent real-time messages during severe weather or other emergencies and traffic incidents.
“Severe weather events are happening with increasing frequency and these new electronic message signs and traffic cameras will give motorists the most up-to-date information on road conditions and traffic,” Governor Cuomo said. “Creating a 21st Century transportation system isn’t just about building new roads and bridges – it’s about giving drivers timely information so they can make informed decisions and arrive at their destinations safely.”
Governor Cuomo is leading the way by investing in a smart transportation network that informs motorists in real-time about traffic conditions,” noted NYSDOT commissioner, Marie Therese Dominguez. “These new VMS boards and cameras will provide motorists and traffic managers with critically important information that will help them make more informed decisions especially during bad weather, while enhancing the overall safety of the traveling public.”
The Thruway Authority’s executive director, Matthew J Driscoll, commented, “Variable Message Signs are a vital tool that display critical messages directly intended for motorists during an emergency or weather event. By adding more of these boards across our system, drivers have increased access to essential real-time travel information within seconds.”
NY State Police Superintendent, Keith M Corlett, added, “The new electronic signs and cameras are a welcome addition that will enhance the ability of State Police and our partners at NYSDOT and the Thruway Authority to manage traffic and weather incidents, and communicate effectively with motorists. This project supports our shared mission of prioritising safety first.”