Better Roads Staff
In the past year, in San Diego suburb San Marcos, Calif., an adaptive traffic system has reduced delays on San Marcos Blvd. by up to 46 percent, with an average fuel reduction of 8 percent, according to Jack Stack, a traffic consultant who drives the route.
The federally-funded, $670,000 system – which was completed in early 2010 after three years of installation – links signals at 17 major intersections along a 3.6-mile segment of San Marcos Blvd., and was installed by McCain Inc., of Vista, Calif. McCain’s analysis found motorist stops decreased 39 percent and drive times dropped an average of 20 percent, according to the San Diego Business Journal.
Another way to lower the cost of intelligent transportation is to spread its cost over multiple city agencies, providing a unified view of urban needs and providing a coordinated approach toward operations. That’s the goal of the new IBM Intelligent Operations Center for Smarter Cities.
The IBM Intelligent Operations Center monitors and manages city services, providing operational insight into daily city operations through centralized intelligence. “Now cities, government agencies and enterprises can optimize operational efficiencies and improve planning,” the firm says.
Introduced in June 2011, the IBM Intelligent Operations Center for Smarter Cities is intended to provide cities of all sizes a “holistic” view of information across city departments and agencies. “By infusing analytical insights into municipal operations through one central point of command, cities will be able to better anticipate problems, respond to crises and manage resources,” IBM says.
Through a unified operations center, cities will be able to:
• accurately gather, analyze and act on information about city systems and services, including public safety, transportation, water, buildings, social services and agencies;
• analyze real-time information to better model and anticipate problems to minimize the impact of disruptions to citizens; and
• integrate real-time information from across multiple city systems to enable collaborative decision-making for rapid response to events and incidents.
The system can integrate city management of services such as transportation, public safety, water, building and energy management within the Intelligent Operation Center.
The system will use analytical technologies to provide travelers with real-time traffic information across multiple modes of traffic, so that they can choose the best route for their commute. For example, the Intelligent Operations Center allows analysts to anticipate traffic disruptions and model “what if” scenarios, providing options to minimize traffic congestion. Automated directives can trigger communication and collaboration across the city departments and out to citizen alerts.
Pinpointing No-Pass Zones
Technology can be applied to road safety issues as well. No-passing zones on highways traditionally have been circumscribed using engineering judgment, but in today’s legal environment, a new program permits no-passing zones to be determined using line-of-sight equipment.
A no-passing zone study is required for proper striping of two-lane roadways, according to MasterMind Systems. “Changes to roadways and growth of foliage in the right-of-way lends itself to having the study performed every several years,” the firm says. “Aside from the protection from lawsuits, proper zoning makes your roads safer for the traveling public.”
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