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NYC to utilize remote-controlled traffic signals to combat Midtown traffic

In vehicle traffic law news, New York City officially unveiled its newest weapon in the fight against Midtown traffic congestion earlier this week: a real-time, remote-controlled system that allows city engineers to control the flow of traffic.

The system - referred to as "Midtown in Motion," - allows engineers with the city Department of Transportation to control traffic in one of the city's most notoriously gridlocked areas thanks to a constant stream of information provided by 100 motion detectors, several dozen cameras and the E-ZPasses of drivers located in the target areas.

Specifically, this information is relayed wirelessly to a nerve center/control room in Queens, where engineers will be immediately updated on any congestion or other traffic issues. They may then decide whether to adjust the speed of traffic signals or dispatch a traffic agent to that particular area of Midtown.

"For too long, Midtown traffic was kind of like the weather. Everybody commented on it, but nobody seemed able to do anything about it," said Transportation Commissioner Janette Sadik-Khan. "Today marks a new era in traffic technology."

Interestingly, the overwhelming majority of traffic signals in the city cannot be controlled remotely but rather can only be hardwired to adjust their speeds at certain times of the day (i.e., morning and afternoon rush hour).

"Midtown in Motion" is currently designed to monitor traffic conditions covering a 110-square block area, from 42nd Street up to 57th Street and bound by the area within Second Avenue to Sixth Avenue.

The city will determine whether the program was a success in approximately six months, using data gathered by GPS technology located in city taxis.

In all likelihood, if the program proves to be a success, it will be expanded to cover other areas of New York City.

Mayor Bloomberg, who presided over the launch of the "Midtown in Motion," was careful to urge those attending the grand unveiling that traffic congestion in Midtown wouldn't change overnight.

"I don't want anybody to think that starting tomorrow morning, there will never be another traffic jam between Second and Sixth, 42nd to 57th," he said. "That's not the real world."

Stay tuned for developments from our New York traffic law blog ...

A ticket for violating a vehicle traffic law can result in serious consequences, including fines, points against your license, increased insurance rates, license suspension/revocation or even jail time. Accordingly, if you or a loved one has received a citation, don't just dismiss it.

Instead, consider contacting an attorney who understands New York's confusing legal system, and who can help you evaluate your options and make the right decisions.

This post was provided for informational purposes only and is not to be construed as legal advice.

Related Resources:

City gets street smart (The New York Post)

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