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trafficsignalSick and tired of being stuck in nasty Seattle traffic gridlock?

Seattle Mayor Mike McGinn feels your pain, and today he announced that the city’s transportation department has inked a deal with transportation firm Transpo to conduct a study to implement a new adaptive traffic signal system in Seattle.

That means traffic signals could intelligently respond to changing traffic flows — say if the Seahawks finished their game a half hour earlier than expected. In addition, traffic signals can detect metro buses as they approach intersections, extending the green light so that the bus can make it through without being stopped at a red light.

The system also is expected to enhance signal synchronization and real-time signage, and increase public access to construction information and traffic conditions.

“We are working hard to help everyone get where they are going safely and smoothly,” said McGinn. “That’s why we are looking at upgrading our traffic signal system so that traffic flows more efficiently, which benefits all users of our roadways.”

More on the original study — the March 2010 SDOT Intelligent Transportation System (ITS) Strategic Plan — here. The study will cost $300,000, with results anticipated this summer.

Here’s more on the benefits of the Intelligent Transportation System:

Intelligent transportation systems are a less noticeable but very important technology infrastructure. It applies emerging hardware and software technologies to the challenges of transportation congestion. It is also an effort to provide real time roadway related information to the users in order to improve safety, better travel time and reduce fuel consumption.

Systems utilize different key elements such as countdown pedestrian signal heads, intelligent signal control systems, Dynamic Messaging Signs (DMS), license plate readers, closed circuit TV (CCTV) systems, to more advance applications such as Transit Signal priority, traffic responsive operations, and our traveler’s information web site that uses live data to modify roadway control parameters and provide current information to end users.

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