Big Brother just got bigger. Remember back in July 2011 when NYC Department of Transportation (NYC DOT) installed 100 microwave sensors, 32 traffic video cameras and E-ZPass readers at 23 intersections to measure traffic speeds covering a 110-block area from 2nd – 6th Aves & 42nd – 57th Sts to fix NYC traffic? What is now being referred to as the ‘first phase’ resulted in an overall 10% improvement in travel times on all the Aves (based on E-ZPass readers and taxi GPS data), so DOT just announced Phase II — which expands the ‘Midtown in Motion’ area to Midtown from 1st – 9th Aves and 42nd – 57th Sts.
Midtown in Motion uses all these sensors, NYC traffic cameras and E-ZPass reader data to adjust Midtown traffic signal patterns, unplug bottlenecks and smooth the flow of traffic.
The Phase II area will now cover 270 square blocks and will include an additional 110 microwave sensors, 24 traffic video cameras, and 36 E-ZPass readers. It will be fully operational this September.
Something to Think About: We’re not sure how we feel about NYC being able to read the E-ZPass tags we keep in our cars. Is NYC using the data in aggregate, or can the readers identify individual E-ZPass tags and vehicles?
Phase I was funded by a $1.2 million grant from the US Department of Transportation’s Federal Highway Administration. Phase II’s expansion costs $2.9 million, with $580,000 of that contributed by the City, and the remainder by New York State. All Midtown in Motion data is transmitted wirelessly to the TMC in Long Island City, where engineers can immediately identify congestion issues and adjust the latest generation of networked traffic signals. In total, DOT has invested nearly $300 million in traffic management tools and advanced technology across the city, an important part of the more than $4.9 billion dedicated to more than 800 capital projects and state of good repair initiatives over the last five years.