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Upper Dublin, PA board plans smart traffic lights

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by Eric Devlin, Montgomery News


In other news, new traffic signal cameras are coming to the area that may make the wait at the light a lot shorter.

The board awarded a contract for the installation of a traffic signal adaptive system known as InSync to Republic ITS for $214,204.50.

The contract calls for the installation of four cameras at intersections in Dresher.

Township Manager Paul Leonard said the following intersections will see the cameras installed: Virginia and Susquehanna Road, Dreshertown Road and South Limekiln Pike, Dreshertown and North Limekiln Pike and Limekiln Pike and Susquehanna.

The camera installations will be paid for by an Automated Red Light Enforcement (ARLE) grant from PennDOT.

The board also approved the installation of a fifth camera at the corner of Virginia and Office Center drives. The original bid price for the installation was $38,700, but wiyj BET Investments and Wawa, scheduled to open at the corner, eaching donating $10,000 to implement the system, the total cost to the township will be $18,700.

Leonard said the project will install five smart traffic signals throughout the area to help move traffic more efficiently. The InSync system uses video cameras not to enforce traffic but to adapt to traffic conditions and adjust the lights accordingly. The cameras don’t take pictures of motorists trying to catch a light; they only work to reduce the wait time for cars at a red light.

Leonard said the installation will be a “dramatic improvement” because “motorists that use these traffic signals will pretty quickly figure out that the traffic signals are a little more on their side” because the signal will know how many cars are waiting and will adjust.

He said if the signals were to break, they would default to their original settings and people would notice the difference.

The software used in the InSync software is not just a time system. Instead, the camera actually counts each car waiting at the light and forwards the information to the next light ahead, allowing it to adjust before the cars even get there, to make sure all the cars keep moving.

“When a mechanical device is on your side, you know it. When it’s not, you really know it,” he said, noting studies have shown a 60 percent decrease in wait time when these devices are installed.

Rhythm EngineeringUpper Dublin, PA board plans smart traffic lights

Upper Merion, PA Recognized for DeKalb Pike Traffic Improvements

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August 3, 2012 – King of Prussia Courier

UPPER MERION, PA – The township received the first-place award in the 30th annual Road and Bridge Safety Improvement Contest, presented at the 90th annual Educational Conference of the Pennsylvania State Association of Township Supervisors in Hershey May 6-9. The conference attracted attendees from every county in Pennsylvania except Philadelphia, which has no townships. Upper Merion Township won the award for an adaptive traffic signal system along DeKalb Pike.

The township association sponsors the statewide Road and Bridge Safety Improvement Contest each year in partnership with the Pennsylvania Highway Information Association and the state Department of Transportation to recognize townships for their extensive contributions of time and effort in making roads and bridges safer.

The Upper Merion Township project involved the implementation of the first functioning adaptive traffic signal system in Pennsylvania, which uses video detection to measure the volume and delay of traffic at intersection approaches and then determines the appropriate signal phase and green light time for each phase to minimize delays at the intersection. [The township installed InSync from Rhythm Engineering. -RE]

The township first installed the adaptive traffic control system in 2010 at the intersections of DeKalb Pike with Gulph Road and Mall Boulevard. These locations were selected because of the fluctuating traffic volumes in this highly developed area, which includes the King of Prussia Mall; hundreds of homes; numerous hotels, office buildings, retail centers, and restaurants; and a convention center. The average daily traffic volume for DeKalb Pike is 40,000 to 50,000 vehicles per day.

Based on the success of the initial project, the township secured a grant in 2011 from PennDOT through the Automated Red Light Enforcement Program to expand the system along the remainder of the DeKalb Pike corridor. This phase included the installation of the adaptive traffic signal system at eight intersections and the addition of striping and signage at two intersections to improve safety.

Upper Merion Township’s traffic signal division, which includes three employees with International Municipal Signals Association certification, has one of the most proactive signal maintenance programs in the area. Consequently, the township was able to maximize the grant funds by using its own staff to complete the installation of the video detection cameras and wiring and make the modifications to the existing traffic signal control cabinets to install the adaptive components.

As a result of the system’s installation, DeKalb Pike has seen reduced travel times during peak hours ranging from 10 to 44 percent, averaging about 25 percent. Delays have been reduced 13 to 53 percent, averaging 32 percent. The system has also reduced vehicular stacking in left-turn lanes and on side streets along the corridor.

Upper Merion Township manager Ron Wagenmann says that at the intersection of DeKalb Pike with Gulph Road, the busiest in the township, the new system has resulted in a 40 percent improvement in peak-hour throughput, or the number of vehicles that pass through the intersection in the specified time.

“The adaptive system is truly automated,” he says. “It measures not only the volume of traffic but also the density and then alters the phasing of lights to get the best improvement in traffic flow.”

Public comments on the traffic signal system revealed frustration at first because drivers could no longer anticipate the timing of the lights and, perhaps, “cheat” a little, Wagenmann says. “Once people got used to it and saw how it reduced congestion, we got a lot of positive feedback,” he says.

Receiving the Road and Bridge Safety Improvement Award was just icing on the cake.

“We are very pleased to receive the award because it recognizes our effort to do what we can to improve safety for our residents and nonresidents,” Wagenmann says.

Rhythm EngineeringUpper Merion, PA Recognized for DeKalb Pike Traffic Improvements