South Florida traffic is one of their biggest problems, and Miami-Dade is betting on smart traffic lights as part of their coping strategy.
The county already has 340 smart traffic lights installed to improve circulation and reduce commuting time from home to work by as much as 15% in some places.
How often do you wonder why a traffic light takes so long to change from red to green? Now, to reduce wait and switch times, they are starting to switch to smart units. Telemundo 51 toured to monitor their operations, but also to check how they were controlled from the Miami-Dade Operations Center.
All traffic lights for cars and pedestrians are programmed from the Operations Center. Frank Ira, Miami-Dade’s chief of traffic lights, explains how the process works.
“We started installing traffic cameras to monitor what is happening on the street,” he says, adding that the center was established in 1976 and has been working with technology from then until 2005.
“The engineers working in this center did not have eyes to see what was happening, but it was only updated with modern technology in 2017.”
“There are now an average of 200 cameras on the streets, and engineers can see what is happening with the traffic,” Ayra says.
But due to the number of vehicles in the county, an advanced traffic management system was required. And these traffic lights appear, which count the number of cars on the same road, and generate the so-called green wave.
There are two types of traffic light cameras, the official explains. One of them reads and indicates the direction of movement of the vehicle, and the other detects the vehicle and marks it with a red square. Everything is in favor of a better use of time.
Carlos Vasquez, Miami-Dade Traffic Manager and Engineer adds further details. “The control unit gives information for the following traffic signal: 200 incoming cars, then this volume is transferred from the traffic light to the traffic light.”
It also shows that when engineers are inside they monitor and if they have to make a change, then they do. “They are making the north or south greener.”
In the not-too-distant future, all Miami-Dade traffic lights will collect real-time data, so residents will spend 15% less time sitting in their cars.
“At the moment, there are a total of 340 traffic lights already working with the new technology,” Arya explains.
The idea is that the new system also improves public transit time, gives more safety for pedestrians, and allows greater control over the event of roadworks, accidents, to respond quickly and possibly save lives. This technology has already been implemented in more than 300 cities in different countries.
In the next four years, the program to replace all traffic lights will already be completed. There will be around 3,000 units in all of Miami-Dade County.