Friday, March 31, 2017
By George “Bud” Scholl, Mayor
In January I wrote about our various pedestrian bridge initiatives, that will certainly assist in mitigating traffic, but whose primary purpose is to ensure greater pedestrian safety. After a lot of professional analysis and a comprehensive traffic study in 2016, we have confirmed that most of our traffic is being generated from outside of our City. As South Florida has become more populated, daily commuters have turned to Collins Avenue when looking for alternatives to I-95 and Biscayne Boulevard. We cannot prohibit vehicles from driving through out City on Collins Avenue, however we can find ways to ensure that traffic flows more efficiently, especially at peak hours.
Miami-Dade County has initiated a pilot program to monitor and influence daily traffic from their network operations center in West Miami. Their first use of cameras with smart traffic signal technology is being utilized in the Doral area along NW 36th Street. The US Federal Highway Administration has stated that “Real-time management of traffic systems is proven to work, yet these systems have been deployed on less than 1 percent of existing traffic signals.” Our City staff has been in discussions with the County and we are aggressively pursuing the opportunity to become the next site for the installation of this new technology.
We have all driven along busy roads where the traffic signals are not synchronized and we are forced to stop every few blocks. Smart traffic signal technology optimizes the timing of the synchronization of traffic signals based upon the amount of traffic that needs to flow and the distance between the signals. This technology is perfectly suited for our stretch of Collins Avenue given the number of traffic signals in our City and the variable congestion throughout the day. This is not meant to create an opportunity for greater speed, it is simply a method for keeping traffic at peak hours moving through the computerized coordination of our traffic lights. We have a unique opportunity to take advantage of this technology to help mitigate one of our biggest issues. While this all might sound futuristic, the future is here and we are working hard to harness it!