Texas’ First Smart City Traffic Signal System Coming in May

The city of Frisco is planning to launch the state's first Smart City system connecting drivers with traffic signal information.

smart city

smart citiesSystems are “go” for a mid-May launch of Texas’ first Smart City system that will allow drivers to anticipate stop lights, and tell them how long they’ll have to wait for them to change.

Highway engineers got a firsthand peek at the technology during the spring meeting of the Texas District of the Institute of Transportation Engineers last week in Frisco.

The technology has already been incorporated into hundreds of intersections in Las Vegas, but Frisco will be the first city in Texas to implement the  traffic signal system. 

The city of Frisco is working with its Sugar Land-based traffic control device contractor, Trafficware, auto industry data provider Traffic Technology Services, and Audi, to establish the system at nearly 100 intersections within its city limits.

“This is the city of Frisco’s first opportunity to participate in connected vehicle programs that will be starting up around the country,” said Brian Moen, assistant director of transportation for the city of Frisco’s Engineering Services Department. “It really allows a local agency to start sharing their signal data with drivers … and to arm those drivers with better information, so they can make better choices.”

Moen anticipates that information flowing to drivers from traffic control devices and other sources will increase rapidly over the next five to 10 years.

Frisco’s system will work this way: Specially equipped traffic control devices stream their traffic data to TTS, which then analyzes the data, and passes it along to Audi.

“This is the city of Frisco’s first opportunity to participate in connected vehicle programs that will be starting up around the country.”

Brian Moen

The car maker further processes the data, sending it back to Audi drivers of models equipped with their Audi connect tech. Though it sounds like a convoluted process, drivers receive stoplight information with no apparent delay.

Starting in mid-May, drivers will see a traffic light icon on Audi dashboards, along with a digital counter that tells them how long they must wait before the signal turns green. Additional capabilities, such as suggested driving speeds to help drivers avoid red lights, will eventually come online as well, said Kiel Ova, chief marketing officer for Traffic Technology Services.

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