Remote-monitoring system helps keep city of Maricopa traffic flowing

Technicians in Phoenix can better track conditions, adjust signal timing

Staff remotely monitoring traffic conditionsWith the city of Maricopa’s population and traffic increasing, the Arizona Department of Transportation has installed a wireless communication system allowing technicians in Phoenix to monitor conditions on State Route 347 and adjust signal timing accordingly.

“We’re working to make the best use of the existing road through Maricopa and improve traffic flow and safety,” ADOT Traffic Engineer Mark Poppe said. “While drivers will experience a better commute with this new system, our work is not done. The data will allow us to continuously measure performance and make adjustments that improve mobility.”

The system starts with a series of infrared and video cameras installed at each SR 347 intersection through Maricopa, allowing an ADOT technician in Phoenix to see exactly what is happening and modify the length of traffic signals to improve traffic flow.

Another part of the system automatically monitors travel times between intersections using Wi-Fi signals, such as those from smartphones. That anonymous information can alert ADOT technicians to delays.

Similar systems are used to remotely monitor traffic signals in Nogales, along State Route 77 in the Tucson area and in the Phoenix area. One is planned for Safford.

The technology was installed this past summer in Maricopa. Over the coming months, researchers from the University of Arizona will evaluate how cost-effective the system has been.