Over the next few years, Broward County residents will be able to drive around a little easier.

Broward County is using penny surtax money to use high technology to improve intersections and to alert drivers of potential problems on the roadways.

“There are only so many roads that can be built,” said Leonard Vialpando, chief innovation officer for Broward County. “We want to get people more information while they are driving so they can get where they need to go more efficiently.”

Broward will use a system of sensors and cameras to make it happen. The sensors will indicate problems at intersections and show where near collisions between vehicles have taken place. This information will be used to rank intersections.

This will enable county transportation officials to determine which intersections should be prioritized for safety enhancements.

Also, these sensors will indicate when a red light is about to turn green. A vehicle that is equipped by a manufacturer to access this data will be able to show a driver how much longer a traffic light will be red or green. County officials hope to establish relationships with vehicle manufacturers to use data to help increase the number of vehicles that arrive at a intersection when a light is green. “We want drivers to catch more green lights so there will be fewer drivers waiting at intersections,” said Vialpando.

And the technology will show where there are road hazards and traffic problems. “It will help us identify where vehicles are broken down or accidents have occurred so we can respond more quickly to clear the roadway,” said Vialpando.

Also, the county the hopes to use this technology to alert drivers to street flooding so they avoid flooded roadways and to provide road closure data comprehensively to the entire county.

Broward County transportation officials are partnering with the Massachusetts Institute of Technology’s Urban Mobility Lab and the University of Florida Transportation Institute to test this technology.

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David Volz has been a reporter for Hollywood Gazette since 2011 and has worked for numerous community news publications throughout South Florida over the past two decades including the South Florida Sun-Sentinel, Miami Herald and South Florida Business Journal. He is a Professor in the Business department at Broward College and the editor of the Coral Springs Connection, an online community news website. He covers city government, schools, sports events, cultural activities, faith groups and workplaces.


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