56 new ‘smart’ signals speeding traffic flow
Fifty-six more Miami-Dade traffic signals have been updated to be ‘smart’ signals that adjust red-green timing in a blink to flow traffic as fast as possible.
County officials inked a $150 million contract with Siemens Mobility last summer to upgrade all 2,600 signals to adapt to traffic, a process geared to take about seven years.
“Currently,” Department of Transportation and Public Works Director Alice Bravo said via email, “the department is working on the planning and engineering phase for the (project). This phase includes the development of the backroom elements for the system as well as field surveys of the intersections.”
“On Feb. 2,” she continued, “the contract award for the construction, engineering and inspection team to support the county in this project was approved by the Board of County Commissioners.”
While Covid-19 delayed work, she said, the central software for the signals is expected to be online and tested by spring, allowing the county to interface with new controllers and signals.
“Smart signals,” department spokesman Luis Espinoza told Miami Today last summer, “are capable of rapidly adjusting signal timing according to traffic conditions and speeds. As traffic volume increases and travel speeds decrease, the system will then adjust the amount of green-light time in each direction to help traffic flow better.”
To date, Ms. Bravo said, 347 sensors have been updated. Last August, Miami Today reported, this number was 291. Fifteen signals will be upgraded per week once the central software is operational, Ms. Bravo said. Upgrades, she said, are done “seamlessly” to avoid interference with traffic.
A Siemens study predicted a 15% average reduction in travel time, but Ms. Bravo said this data isn’t available yet.
“While traffic volumes have been increasing recently,” she said, “there is still a lot of variation in traffic flow each day due to ongoing changes and impacts from the Covid-19 pandemic. Therefore, the department will determine the most proactive approach and timeframe to conduct future traffic studies for adaptive signals.”