City Receives its First Patent for Traffic Signal Override Device
CLEARWATER - In June 2007, the City sought a patent on a remote manual override device for traffic signals. The device was developed by the City of Clearwater and lets a police officer control an intersection remotely up to 1,000 feet away from a police cruiser, allowing multiple signals to be controlled at once. The patent was approved by the U.S. Patent Office, and will be awarded to the City of Clearwater on Thursday, July 15, at 6:00 p.m., at the City Council meeting at City Hall Chambers (112 S. Osceola Ave.)
The new device was created to ease traffic congestion at the Clearwater Beach roundabout during Spring Break 2007, which was the second spring break after the new Memorial Causeway Bridge opened to traffic. After the bridge opening in 2005, Traffic Operations Manager Paul Bertels and Police Lieutenant Wayne Andrews (now retired) were discussing how the bridge had been impacting spring break traffic in 2006 and how the roundabout functions during heavy traffic. They realized they needed to modify the metering signal at the roundabout to better control traffic during high volume periods such as spring break. Paul Bertels presented a concept for remote control operation of the metering signal to Himanshu Patni, Engineering Specialist II, who then designed the circuit for the device.
If signals could be controlled remotely, then we could cut down manpower and control the intersection from a police cruiser instead of by three officers at one intersection during heavy traffic times. Andrews thought that if a device like this were available, it might reduce traffic-signaling manpower needs by?66 percent. To residents, this means a smoother flow of traffic and less money spent on manpower.
The Traffic Operations division began production in the signal shop. The unit was designed and developed by the city's Traffic Operations division, and it was tested at the roundabout metering signal. Since then, the city has installed units at the Chestnut and Ft. Harrison Avenue intersection and Chestnut and Oak Avenue. Additional units are planned for other signals on the beach and in key downtown locations.
Traffic Operations Manager Paul Bertels said, "We are so proud to receive a patent - it goes to show that the City and Traffic Engineering division always are identifying new ways to make traffic easier on our residents and visitors. In this case, we identified a problem and found a solution that works for everyone."
To learn more, visit www.myclearwater.com or call the Traffic Engineering division at (727) 562-4794.
Return to Current Edition