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Congressman Mica: Smart Traffic Lights Would Keep Traffic Moving

Congressman John Mica chats about the traffic light technology at a Metro Plan meeting in Orlando.

Congressman John Mica is urging central Florida municipalities to work together to bring smart technology to the region’s stop lights. Mica has found federal dollars for software that can program traffic lights based on real-time traffic flow.

Sensors along busy roads can ping cellphones and toll transponders to measure traffic at any given time. So for example, if traffic’s heavy lights may stay green a little longer to keep things moving.

“We take that limited capacity on an arterial crowded road, and we can move traffic much faster and smoother with the capacity we have,” said Mica.

Mica floated a map that suggests putting the sensors on busy roads like Highway 17-92, and State Roads 50, 426, 436 438 and 441. Since these roads cross city and county lines, local politicians will need to agree on one entity, possibly the state, to manage the traffic lights.  Orange County Mayor Teresa Jacobs said she thinks cooperation will be no problem.

“I don’t think it’s going to be a question of political will. I think it’s going to be a question of identifying how much funding we think we can get, and what the highest priority corridors to start with,” Jacobs said.

Mica said federal dollars to fund the software are tucked into a transportation bill he expects will pass by the end of the year.

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About Catherine Welch

Catherine Welch