Computerized traffic signals may offer welcome relief to commuters in the Washington, D.C., metropolitan area accustomed in inching along in bumper-to-bumper traffic. Several state and local jurisdictions have been installing state-of-the-art signal technology to deal with traffic problems on through detectors embedded in the roadway at 160 intersections in the county, the Data General minicoumputer located in the government offices in Rockville electronically monitors the volume and density of the traffic and automatically adjusts the traffic signals to accomodate the flow of traffic. Although other loval jurisdictions have begun to computerize their signal systems, the Alexandria, Va., traffic signal system is the only one in the Washington, D.C. area comparable to Montgomery County's. The District of Columbia hopes to contribute to alleviating congestion by installing its own computerized traffic light system to complement that of Montgomery County, Alexandria and other local jurisdictions. The District's system, which may take as long as a decade to complete, will replace the current antiquated traffic lights, which break down frequently and are difficult to repair because manufacturers no longer make replacement parts. As part of the preparation for the new system, the District recently signed an agreement with the Potomac Electric Power Co. to purchase the city's street and traffic light system form the utility for traffic light system from the utility for 14.8 million. Included in the agreement was a provision allowing the District to use conduit space in PEPCO's underground utility ducts to connect all intersection traffic lights by cable to a central computer that will conduct the signals. A far more controversial application of computer technology of traffic control in the Washington area, however, is the Virginia Department of Transportation's installation of a $26 million system of signal lights on 20 access ramps to I-395 and 1-66, two major commuter routes into the District. They system, which began operation last month after numberous delays and mishaps, will control access to the two highways by cycling red and green signals to allow only a set number of cars to enter the highway from each ramp at one time. the highway from each ramp at one time.

  • Corporate Authors:

    GCN Communications Corporation

    1G20 Elton Road
    Silver Spring, MD  United States  20903
  • Authors:
    • Scott, S
    • Constantine, L M
  • Publication Date: 1985-7-5

Media Info

  • Pagination: p. 16-17
  • Serial:

Subject/Index Terms

Filing Info

  • Accession Number: 00396697
  • Record Type: Publication
  • Files: TRIS
  • Created Date: Aug 25 2004 2:37AM