November 16, 2009 By Andy Opsahl
Given that the new Cowboys Stadium in Arlington, Texas, seats more than 100,000 people, residents nearby expected maddening traffic when the facility opened with global attention in August. However, to the surprise of many, traffic flowed smoothly due to Arlington's traffic management camera system, said Louis Carr, the city's CIO.
Arlington's 140-mile fiber-optic network was the key to making the 95-camera network near the Dallas Cowboys football team's new home both functional and affordable to operate. A mile of that fiber resides inside the stadium and powers cameras viewable by stadium staff and Arlington authorities.
The traffic management system, which covers all of Arlington, puts special focus on the city's entertainment district, which contains Dallas Cowboys Stadium (pictured) and a Six Flags amusement park. Technicians view traffic video feeds remotely from Arlington's three traffic management centers.
"They can actually dispatch public safety to clear out accidents for allowing traffic to flow," Carr said. "They can alter the signals to allow for longer windows of time to clear the traffic out."
Intersections are where many of the bottlenecks happen, according to Beth Ann Unger, manager of IT infrastructure for Arlington. "To see the stadium in operation on game day and to see the use of the technology -- people sitting at controls viewing the traffic cameras is just amazing," Unger said.
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