CLEARWATER - Clearwater recently became the first city in the nation to use a dual predictive Advanced Traffic Management System (ATMS) to move traffic on its roads. The $10.6 million systems will improve traffic flow on U.S. 19 and Gulf-to-Bay Boulevard and are a major part of Clearwater's growing Intelligent Transportation System (ITS).
The RHODES (Real-time, Hierarchical, Optimized, Distributed, Effective System) system manages traffic on Gulf-to-Bay Boulevard and the OPAC (Optimization Policies for Adaptive Control) system manages traffic on U.S. 19. The combined ITS system is necessary because of the differences between the two roads. RHODES excels at managing roads with irregular traffic signal spacing, like Gulf-to-Bay Boulevard. In contrast, U.S. 19 has uniform spacing, which the OPAC system handles well.
Both systems use a combination of cameras, sensors, computers and advanced software to predict traffic flows and adjust signal "green time." Each intersection constantly communicates with other intersections along the road, updating how heavy traffic is and how long it will take to get to the next intersection. Motorists will also benefit from Dynamic Message Boards that provide traffic updates, accident updates, road closure alerts, Amber alerts and other important announcements. Future uses for these ITS/ATMS include in-car traffic updates, direction assistance and collision avoidance systems.
ITS/ATMS will also allow Clearwater to quickly identify problem areas caused by accidents or inoperable vehicles. State law prohibits any law enforcement agency from using this technology for traffic enforcement.
Clearwater's ITS/ATMS systems are the first systems activated in a much larger Pinellas County ITS/ATMS effort. Funds for ITS/ATMS were provided through a partnership between Clearwater, Pinellas County and the Metropolitan Planning Organization.
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