New technology could shorten your commute

The City of Austin is testing new technology that could shorten your commute. It's called Adaptive Signal Controls and right now it's being used at several intersections in the city. FOX 7's Nick Spinetto explains.

The City of Austin is testing new technology that could shorten your commute. It's called Adaptive Signal Controls. 

When driving in the Austin area, traffic, and how long you have to sit in it, is often the first complaint. 

Right now fed up drivers have no real alternative but to wait and wait. Looking towards the future, the City of Austin anticipates getting cars moving by better controlling traffic signals.

The City of Austin and the University of Texas-Austin's Cockrell School's Center for Transportation signed a five year agreement, worth a little more than $2 million, for researchers to study and analyze Austin's traffic issues and figure out how to make it better.

One of those ways is with Adaptive Signal Controls.

Dr. Jen Duthie, a researcher at Cockrell School's Center for Transportation, says, "There are sensors in the roadways that will the signal how many people are coming from all the directions wanting to make different turning events."

The technology is being tested at four main intersections in the Austin-area including South Lamar.

It's already used in other cities like Pittsburgh and has been a success. Dr. Duthie hopes it can work here.

"We do imagine it will be effective. It's just a matter of how effective can it be and how can we maximize its impact," Dr. Duthie says.

In their research, the center will use information from the traffic sensors to help improve signal times, so you won't to wait at a stoplight when no other traffic is in sight.

The idea is to get the flow of traffic, and Austin, moving in the right direction.

Dr. Duthie says, "We have a lot of congestion. We don't have much room to build more roadways so it's an opportunity to think creatively. We have a lot of creative people in this town"

The research for this project is expected to last a year.

If it’s proven to work it could be at major intersections across the city by the end of 2017.


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