Smart road technology coming to streets near you - WNEM TV 5

Smart road technology coming to streets near you

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Traffic in Mid-Michigan could soon be flowing even faster thanks to technology.

Starting next week the Genesee County Road Commission plans to turn on something called an intelligent transportation system, or ITS, in some parts of the region; including on Pierson Road between Linden and Jennings. The system allows street lights to change based on traffic.

ITS is powered by a small wireless transmitter that can sense when a car, bicycle or even a person wearing a steel-toed boot approaches an intersection. The transmitters, which look something like a hockey puck, have a sensor inside that detects even small amounts of metal and are placed under the road at intersections.

The transmitter then sends information to the receiver mounted on the traffic signal controller box, which tells the traffic light to change based on traffic flow.

Genesee County Road Commission Traffic Engineering Manager Bonnie Wood says reduced travel time is just one of the benefits. “Hopefully it helps with the road rage that people might feel. Like, why am I waiting at a traffic light? There’s no one on the other side.”

Wood also says the system helps out with emissions by helping to mitigate congestion. Federal funds helped pay for the project on Pierson Road. 

If approved, two more projects at a projected cost of $450,000 each would bring smart roads to portions of Linden and Miller Roads in Flint Township's business district next year.

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