NYC Expands Traffic Relief Program

June 6, 2012

 The traffic at Times Square (via

June 6, 2012 —  Last July, New York City implemented a traffic program aimed at relieving congestion in midtown. The program initially affected 110 blocks and 23 intersections on the slowest moving streets in Manhattan.  Now, it more than doubles, in keeping with long-term trends in midtown traffic.  That is, traffic is getting worse, so successful traffic relief programs must be expanded.

The program relies on a data from a number of sources including electronic sensors and E-ZPass readers to alert the city’s traffic center of traffic trends and issues. The center, located in Long Island City, Queens can then change traffic lights remotely, and engineers simply have to click the mouse.

Traffic in midtown Manhattan is notoriously slow, but transportation engineers are working on improving methods of alleviating congestion

This program is set to expand following data which states traffic speeds increased by 10% at the intersections using the new program, but it is useful to point out that these speeds increased from 6.9mph to 7.9mph, an excruciatingly slow crawl for such a fast-paced city.

The additional intersections are in the process of being included but the expansion will cost $4.9 million. New York State will assume half the costs while the federal government and the city will allay the remainder. The bulk of the costs is due to wireless traffic controllers need to route control to Queens. Once these are installed, the program, if successful, is expected to continue to expand. Drivers who are familiar with midtown have yet to see a noticeable improvement, but Mayor Bloomberg has encouraged forging ahead, while the Transportation Department continues to assess problems and find solutions.
While this may not mean an immediate end to traffic headaches, it is another step in NYC’s increasing efforts to alleviate traffic congestion in all its neighborhoods.

– K. Howitt

Category: News

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