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An easier commute thanks to new traffic technology

Aug 28, 2017 11:38AM ● Published by Jana Klopsch

Twenty-five intersections in Cottonwood Heights have been equipped with traffic adaptive technology to quickly clear intersections and reduce traffic. (Cassie Goff/City Journals)

By Cassie Goff  |  cassie@mycityjournals.com

Commuters rejoice! Traffic will be a little smoother in Cottonwood Heights thanks to some new technology.

Traffic adaptive technology, which is designed to move traffic through intersections more efficiently, has been installed on many of the traffic signals within city boundaries. 

“It’s a great concept,” said Mayor Kelvyn Cullimore said. The new traffic adaptive technology he said, “reads at the minute and adjusts the timing of the lights so you can empty intersections quickly.” 

Several years ago, City Engineer Brad Gilson applied and got approval for a grant aimed toward a traffic adaptive study within the city boundaries. However, the Utah Department of Transportation (UDOT) wanted to make the area of study more inclusive. They asked Cottonwood Heights City if they would be willing to reallocate that money for a broader project. Cottonwood Heights agreed, but under the requirement that the city would be the first to receive and benefit from the technology recommended from the findings. 

After a few years of waiting for recommendations from the traffic study, “a traffic signal optimization approach seems like the best way of handling things,” Gilson said. 

Currently, the new traffic adaptive technology can be found in 100 intersections statewide, with 25 of those within Cottonwood Heights. The installation of the hardware on those 25 intersections was complete on Aug. 9. 

On Aug. 23, software implementation began. This began the process of making data adjustments for the system, and will continue through October. “Data will be analyzed in real time and someone will be tweaking it as they assess the data,” Cullimore said. 

When the traffic adaptive technology sends the tracked information to the data center, intersections that are especially problematic will be flagged so they can be better dealt with. By the end of October, the intersections with this technology will be fully functional. 

With the traffic adaptive technology intact, the attempt to optimize includes a minimum goal of a 10 percent improvement. That means it should take 10 percent less time to get through the traffic signals. 

Eventually, every intersection in the city that needs this technology, will have it, Cullimore said and will include incorporation in the canyons.

If everything goes according to plan, Purdue University, which is helping work on this project, will publish this in their journal, Cullimore said.

“We will have the most modern coordinated traffic system in the state,” Cullimore said. “It’s an exciting thing.”

UDOT hopes that “this will replace the central system for the whole state of Utah,” Gilson said. “They are taking this statewide.”

Check out the city website for more information. 

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