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The City of Madison’s Traffic Engineering team was recently presented Intelligent Transportation Society (ITS) of Wisconsin’s 2020 Project of the Year Award. This distinction was earned for the City’s Active Traffic Management System, which combines communication networks with critical software applications to manage and regulate traffic control devices via physical and virtual user interfaces. These tools allow for remote monitoring and response to traffic conditions in real time.

Key components to the City’s Active Traffic Management System include:

  • Traffic Management Center, a facility housed at the City’s Traffic Engineering office in downtown Madison, featuring a video wall for engineers and operators to remotely monitor traffic and can make changes to devices in the field.
  • Fiber Network Communication, a sub-system by which, information is transmitted to devices and shared with other facilities around the City.
  • Traffic Surveillance, this capability is provided by online congestion mapping and strategically placed cameras that are trained on the City’s transportation network to provide visual verification of operations.
  • Advanced Traffic Signal Management Software, an application that allow engineers an ability to respond and adapt traffic signals to changing conditions.
  • Asset Management, to coordinate staffing resources and information related to traffic engineering infrastructure around the City.
  • Traveler Information, a Waze-based application that allows City staff to share incident information with road users.

The project was recognized for providing a relatively low cost solution to use technology and active traffic management to reduce congestion, enhance safety, and improve the overall utility of Madison’s transportation network to support continued growth of the area in a cost effective and more sustainable manner. Most recently, the system was used to actively manage signal timing at many intersections in response to changing travel demands resulting from COVID-19, such as to shorten the signal cycle length, to adjust green time based on reduced traffic demand, and to automatically bring up walk signals without the need for pedestrians and bicyclists to push a button. Not only does this system provide solutions to issues that arise today, it also positions Madison to be better able to adapt to growth and technological challenges in the future.

Traffic Engineering extends thanks to the vendors providing the technology and other city agencies involved in the project, such as Information Technology, City Engineering, Finance and Attorney’s Office. The award was presented to Dr. Yang Tao’s team at the recent ITS Wisconsin’s Virtual Transportation Conference. More information on the project can be found in the award acceptance video produced by the City’s media team