The City of Irving’s Traffic Signal Division is on pace to replace traffic signal controllers in more than 200 intersections by the end of 2017.
The project, which includes 208 traffic signals within Irving’s 70 square miles, has an overall goal to replace and upgrade systems that were last upgraded in the late 1990s. Advanced Traffic Management System, the new communication network, will improve traffic safety, synchronize traffic flow and will feature the capability to integrate emerging technology, system monitoring and the flexibility for future upgrades and expansion.
City funding for the upgraded technology was augmented by the Federal Highway Administration through a grant from the North Central Texas Council of Governments Congestion Mitigation and Air Quality Program. The City of Irving’s Traffic and Transportation Department received a $2 million federal grant to match the city’s current $2 million budget for a total of $4 million to upgrade the citywide traffic signal system.
While some of the traffic signal changes are apparent, others are less noticeable. One of the major upgrades will be the citywide traffic signal wireless communication system that will allow all 208 traffic signals to talk to one another to improve safety and traffic flow, while passing on vital information to the new traffic operations center.
The overarching goal for this real time information is to allow the traffic signal system to be proactive and adjust to current traffic flows. For example, if an accident occurred on one of Irving’s streets, traffic would likely divert onto another street to go around it. With the new system, a traffic signal technician could increase the green light response time of area traffic signals to allow more drivers in and out of the area until the accident was cleared.
The new traffic operations center will be monitored by central management software that will allow traffic signal technicians the ability to monitor all parts of the system remotely with portable notebook computers. Monitoring remotely will assist staff in determining issues related to signal operations. One other major benefit will be the automatic notification of signal malfunctions (power outages, flashing operations, etc.) to on-call personnel outside of normal working hours.
Currently, traffic signal technicians manually program more than 130 school zone indicators for three different school districts throughout Irving. Under this system, the devices are programmed numerous times throughout the year to stay in alignment with the Carrollton-Farmers Branch, Coppell and Irving Independent School Districts’ calendars. With the new technology, the Traffic Signal Division will be able to wirelessly connect and program all of the school zone indicators remotely from their computers.
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