Some of the worst traffic-ridden areas in the United States are found in the region around Washington D.C. But perhaps change is on the way.
Maryland is investing over $50 million in smart traffic control signaling system in an attempt to smooth traffic flow in the state, particularly the area near Washington D.C. Maryland Governor Larry Hogan says that the replacement of decades-old traffic lights with smart traffic signals that could adapt to rapid changes in traffic flow will benefit over 700,000 of his constituents.
A report from StateTech’s Juliet Van Wagenen explains how:
“The smart signals will use detection software to “monitor traffic conditions and alter the timing of traffic signals,” based on factors that can contribute to congestion, such as vehicle collisions and construction, the press release states. The signals will receive data through sensors placed on traffic light poles and in the road’s pavement itself, State Highway Administrator Gregory I. Slater told The Baltimore Sun.
He estimates that, with the upgrades, travelers can expect to see 10- to 15-percent reductions in travel time.
In addition to the installation of smart traffic lights, Maryland is also planning to widen major roads across the state. These include the Capital Beltway, the Baltimore-Washington Parkway, and I-270. This plan to widen roads has been criticized by environmental groups that want existing roads to be used more efficiently instead.
The StateTech report adds:
The transportation department will upgrade 14 major corridors in metropolitan areas across the state by the end of 2018. These areas were mainly chosen because they were equipped with technology that was compatible with the new system. The administration plans to build out more smart traffic signals in the future.
Maryland is just the latest to approve a smart signal build-out, with officials from Las Vegas, Cary, N.C., and others previously revealing plans to implement the time-saving and emissions-reducing tech.