City Hall Expands Midtown Traffic Control System

It will go from 110 blocks to 270 blocks

Tuesday, Jun 5, 2012  |  Updated 2:15 PM EDT
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Midtown Traffic Control System Expanded

City officials are expanding a system of microwave sensors, traffic cameras and E-ZPass readers used to monitor midtown traffic so that adjustments can be made in real time to alleviate congestion.

Transportation Commissioner Janette Sadik-Khan said Tuesday that the network put in place last year had helped travel times in the initial 110-square-block area and would be expanded to 270 square blocks.

It will be up and running by September, officials said.

Engineers at the city's traffic management center in Long Island City watch the data from the devices and can adjust signals to clear traffic jams.

Previously, traffic signals could only be set to signal patterns that were configured based on the time of day, the city said. This prevented officials from being able to adjust for unexpected delays like crashes, or large events like the UN General Assembly.

The expansion costs $2.9 million; the city is contributing $580,000 and the state is funding the rest, the city said.

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