Wednesday, February 12, 2020

Mayor John Cooper Announces Comprehensive Evaluation of Traffic Management Operations Throughout Metro Nashville. Maybe "smart traffic" is on the way.

Metro Press release, 2/12/2020 - Mayor John Cooper today announced the Mayor’s Office and Department of Public Works has kicked off a comprehensive evaluation of traffic management operations throughout Metro Nashville. An assessment of Metro’s traffic and signal management system, a modern traffic control center, and staffing required to improve the efficiency, effectiveness, and safety for all traffic will be performed.

“Nashville’s traffic problems need smart, 21st century solutions, and smarter traffic management is low-hanging fruit to improve congestion on our roadways,” said Mayor John Cooper. “There’s no good reason that our drivers should be spending 20 percent more than the national average commuting. I’m confident that my transportation team, led by Faye DiMassimo, and Metro Public Works will determine a right-sized traffic management solution for Nashville.”

The evaluation will consider the capabilities and pain points of the existing Metro signal network, the benefits of an adaptive vs. responsive traffic signal control system, current IT infrastructure, and other existing signal equipment. Additionally, Metro’s traffic management operations will be evaluated against nine peer systems, including:

  • Georgia DOT, GA 
  • Cobb County, GA 
  • Los Angeles, CA 
  • Anaheim, CA 
  • Orlando, FL 
  • Utah DOT, UT 
  • Charlotte, NC 
  • Denver, CO 
  • DC DOT 
The goal of the traffic management operations evaluation is to provide the Mayor’s Office and Department of Public Works with both short-term solutions and a long-term roadmap to more efficiently control traffic flow, manage incidents, and provide traffic-related information to travelers. The evaluation will also be followed by a signal modernization/optimization demonstration project for a portion of the Downtown Nashville area.

Rod's Comment: I commend Mayor Cooper for taking this common sense step. Improving traffic flow is the low-hanging fruit of improving our traffic problem. From time to time Metro has, with some fanfair, announced the synchronization of traffic signals. That helps on major thoroughfares for a short while but only for a short while as traffic volumes and patterns change and soon the synchronized traffic lights need to be adjusted and are soon out of sync.

What is sometimes called "smart traffic" is much more sophisticated than just synchronizing traffic signals. With smart traffic, signals are adjusted in real time to most efficiently move traffic. Below are a couple article that explain the concept:
4 Ways Cities Are Using Smart Technology To Control Traffic Congestion
Smart traffic control: the Pittsburgh example
7 Smart city solutions to reduce traffic congestion

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