July 5, 2018

Portland tests 'smart' traffic signals

The city of Portland is testing high-tech traffic signals to control traffic flow and speed travel.

The Portland Press Herald reported that the radar devices have been collecting data for weeks at three busy intersections around Morrill's Corner. City officials told the newspaper that motorists should notice improvements in coming weeks when the signals adjust the timing of lights.

Motorists can expect to see a reduction in travel time through Morrill's Corner by up to 20% or 30%, the city said. The devices "will be able to sense when people are coming and change the lights appropriately," Jessica Grondin, Portland's director of communications, told the newspaper.

Portland is the first community in Maine and one of the first in the country to test the technology.

Morrill's Corner is Phase 1 in that project, with Woodfords Corner following and, ultimately, all of the lights on Forest Avenue to Deering Oaks Park.

The city is also seeking to install similar smart traffic signals on Commercial Street and Franklin Street to better flow traffic and ease congestion issues. Traffic flow will improve even further as additional intersections come online because they will share information with one another. In January, the city also began replacing all of its streetlights with new, energy-efficient LED light fixtures. The lighting control network allows city staff to control light levels in neighborhoods.


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