Local News

New Cameras May Provide Solution To Traffic Light Delays

Posted July 6, 2001

— If you have ever thought the traffic lights are working against you, some new technology may help. The

state Department of Transportation

thinks cameras are the key to keep drivers moving.

We have all been there. The traffic light is stuck on red, and it seems like the green light will never come around. The answer to traffic light trouble, according to the DOT, is a little camera called Machine Vision.

"You can actually see pixels on the screen and it can detect movement, much like a mouse across a home computer," says DOT engineer Jon Nance. "It detects movement through the area that you're trying to monitor and it lets the controller know there is a vehicle in the area that needs a call."

Sending images from the camera to the control box helps drivers avoid unnecessary red lights, and smooth traffic flow. At $41,000 per intersection, Machine Vision costs three times more than traditional pavement sensors.

Engineers say the pole-mounted cameras pay for the difference in reduced maintenance and replacement costs -- an improvement over the old sensing wires buried in the pavement. Plus, everything about Machine Vision is above ground.

The Machine Vision cameras are installed at six Triangle intersections:

  • Glenwood Avenue at Lead Mine Road
  • Interstate 540 at Six Forks Road in Raleigh
  • N.C. 54 and Evans Road
  • Walnut Street and Dillard Drive in Cary
  • U.S. 401 and Perry Creek Road in Wake County.
  • Miami Boulevard at Angier Avenue in Durham.
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