Transportation

Infrastructure-to-Vehicle Data Sharing to Go Live in Norwalk, Conn.

The real-time traffic signal information systems will give drivers more actionable information while allowing public works to better calibrate the city’s traffic signals.

by Robert Koch, The Hour, Norwalk / September 18, 2018
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(TNS) — NORWALK, Conn. — Drivers of Audis, BMWs and other high-end vehicles soon will get a head-up on when a traffic light is about to change in Norwalk.

The Norwalk Common Council this month authorized Mayor Harry Rilling to execute data-sharing agreements with Traffic Technology Services, Inc., Connected Signals, Inc., and Live Traffic Data Corp. “to share real-time traffic signal information in exchange for autonomous information from connected vehicle applications to improve roadway safety, reduce congestion, and optimize traffic flow.”

“They (motorists) will get the traffic information, either on the app or the navigation system,” said Norwalk Traffic Engineer Fred Eshraghi. “When you get close to the intersection, you can see the traffic lights, either on the app or on the navigation system of your car — the red lights, the green and the yellow and the time they have to change — so it will provide the information to the motorists.”

At no cost to the city, the real-time traffic signal information systems will allow drivers to make smarter decisions, lower fuel emissions, reduce their carbon footprint and increase safety while allowing the Norwalk Department of Public Works to better calibrate the city’s traffic signals, according to Michael Yeosock, assistant principal engineer in department.

“These systems have been found to improve fuel efficiency by 8-15 percent and reduce red-light crashes by 25 percent,” Yeosock wrote in a memorandum to the council. “In return for sharing our traffic signal data, the developers of these programs will provide the City, at no cost, with various information and programs that can help us improve the efficiency of our traffic signal system.”

An efficiency improvement, for example, would be re-timing a traffic signal that now leaves motorists waiting a red light for several minutes even though no vehicles crossing the intersection on the green light.

The BMW Group announced in July 2015 that it was working with Connected Signals to bring a traffic-light predicting app into its vehicles. Audi of America and Traffic Technology Services launched a traffic light information system in select models in fall 2016.

Live Traffic Data partners with traffic agencies to install hardware to connect isolated signalized intersections with traffic management centers. The company also provides performance measurement software to monitor and properly retime traffic signals, according to its website.

Eshraghi said the Connected Signals will be the first system communicating with the approximately 53 city traffic signals that are connected to the Traffic Management Center at the Public Works Department — “as soon as the contract is signed and ready.”

The Norwalk traffic engineer anticipates other car manufacturers will incorporate traffic-signal information systems into their vehicles.

“The last time that the Traffic Technology Services representatives were here, they were saying they are working on other cars as well,” Eshraghi said. “But in Connecticut, because of the community, having a luxury car is an advantage.”

©2018 The Hour (Norwalk, Conn.) Distributed by Tribune Content Agency, LLC.