Next time you are stuck in NYC traffic, Big Brother may be watching what’s happening and will be working to get rid of that congestion. It’s all in the name of making driving in NYC better.
If you’re driving in NYC in the 110-square block area between 42nd – 57th Streets from 3rd Ave – 6th Ave, the eyes will be on you in Queens, in NYC’s Department of Transportation Traffic Command Centre. There are three guys watching everything what happens. They know how many cars are waiting at a red light, or how fast – or slow – it’s taking vehicles to get 10 blocks. Based on the situation, they can make a traffic light turn red or green, speed up or slow down the timing of the NYC traffic light, re-route traffic, or send police officers.
In late July, a 6-month pilot was launched to see if NYC traffic can be reduced or avoided altogether by combining data from sensors, E-ZPass, and cameras to anticipate congestion, deal with sudden traffic from accidents, and then re-route the traffic to keep vehicles moving. The system can also be used to justify adjusting NYC parking and driving regulations.
There are 3,600 wireless traffic lights and plans are underway to convert all 12,400 NYC traffic lights. The entire watchdog system cost NYC $1 million plus $600,000 in Federal funding.