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State-of-the-art technology helps improve Fort Worth traffic flow

Posted Oct. 14, 2020

screens on a wall
Staff members at the Traffic Management Center can view footage from 120 traffic cameras and communicate with 904 traffic signals and travel time sensors.

Fort Worth is taking a major step toward upgrading technology at signalized intersections. New tools help manage congestion and improve safety as the city continues to grow.

Traffic signal timing is an essential part of arterial management because it directly affects congestion, travel time, air quality and safety.

This summer, Fort Worth’s Transportation & Public Works (TPW) Department implemented a Traffic Management Center at the James Avenue Service Center in south Fort Worth.

The TPW Transportation Management Division’s vision is to ensure Fort Worth takes advantage of new technology and a recently-implemented Advanced Traffic Management System that integrates technology to improve vehicle flow and safety.

This state-of-the-art Traffic Management Center houses video monitoring software for more than 120 traffic pan tilt zoom cameras, communication with 904 traffic signals and travel time sensors. The center includes a video wall of 10 55-inch monitors, two workstations, a server room and a conference room. The design of the video wall allows staff to view traffic at each intersection where cameras are installed. Staff members can make real-time adjustments to signalized intersections and corridors with a centralized traffic software system.

About 13% of signalized intersections are covered by cameras. There are plans to expand the coverage to 55% in the next four years, depending on 2022 bond program approval.

The Traffic Management Center manages the traffic network, identifies and reacts to incidents, special events and residents’ concerns to improve signal operations based on real-time data. The center will help in collaboration with the Texas Department of Transportation and other agencies to manage traffic incidents and special events.

In addition, the operation will help traffic signal crews identify equipment malfunctions and make repairs to ensure minimal disruption. The Advanced Traffic Management System notifies a central operations unit, and signal timing adjustments can be made from the Traffic Management Center or remotely as long as the correct infrastructure is in place. This will reduce the number of field visits required.

About 95% of the signalized intersections have communications and are part of the new system as of October. Apart from the communications signal controller, vehicle detection and cameras play an essential role in troubleshooting/monitoring signals remotely. Detection systems will be upgraded at intersections as signals are updated. Staff has requested to upgrade 100 locations in the 2022 bond program.

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