Online System Aims To Reduce Traffic Congestion In Gainesville

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Traffic travels west through the intersection at NW 8th Avenue and 34th Street. The NW 8th Avenue corridor is the first corridor to have the adaptive traffic control system installed, according to Chip Skinner. Alexia Fernandez/WUFT

Changes along the NW 8th Avenue corridor may soon cut down on traffic congestion and improve travel times.

The Traffic Operations Division in the Gainesville Public Works Department installed a new adaptive traffic control system. This allows Traffic Management to see traffic patterns and help reduce congestion from their offices via an online system.

Steven Max Elliott, ITS Operations Engineer I for the Gainesville Public Works Department in Traffic Management, said the adaptive traffic control system was initially installed and brought online on March 10. The system is still undergoing development.

“Even though the system is still being developed, we have already seen some reduction in travel times and delay through the corridor,” Elliott said.

The roads that were fitted with the adaptive traffic control system along NW 8th Avenue were the intersections at 43rd Street, 34th Street, 22nd Street and 18th Terrace. Additionally, the system was installed at the intersection of NW 16th Avenue and NW 34th Street.

The total cost for the system was about $172,750, according to Elliott. The price is inclusive of installation and labor to install the system.

The online system reduces congestion by detecting traffic patterns. It senses vehicles to let the traffic signal know when to give a green light.

Algorithms are used in the adaptive traffic control system to increase or decrease the cycle length, Elliott said.

Elliott said the system’s detection of cars and trucks is still undergoing adjustments. Adjustments are also being made to how the algorithm used in interpreting commands for signal changes.

The adaptive traffic control system will help those working in traffic management in Gainesville to oversee traffic developments from their desks without having to send someone to roads that are experiencing traffic signal delays.

Chip Skinner, the Department Marketing and Communications Supervisor for the City of Gainesville Regional Transit System and Public Works Department, said the new system allows Traffic Management to look at the signals and adjust them immediately.

“We’re still in the exploratory phase [with the new system],” he said. “It should help us expedite the traffic a little bit more efficiently than we were with the older system.”

The department will be studying the new system to track improvements made to traffic times as data is collected.

Nursing student Tatiana Grant said it’s frustrating to get to the intersection of NW 8th Avenue and NW 34th Street around 5 p.m. or 6 p.m.

“It’s not as bad as Miami is, which is where I come from,” she said.

Her husband, Chris, said he agreed but that the traffic still affects his everyday life.

“It’s a hassle to have to plan your day differently,” he said. “You try to plan ahead of traffic and it’s difficult sometimes, like when you’re running late.”

About Alexia Fernandez

Alexia is a reporter for WUFT News and can be contacted by calling 352-392-6397 or emailing news@wuft.org.

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