FHWA’s Mendez, Mayor Bloomberg launch ‘Midtown In Motion’ traffic management system

Federal Highway Administrator Victor Mendez joined Mayor Michael Bloomberg, Transportation Commissioner Janette Sadik-Khan and other local officials on July 18 to launch “Midtown In Motion,” a sophisticated new system to improve the flow of traffic and safeguard pedestrians in the 110-square-block heart of New York City.

“This new state-of-the-art system will let New York City show how major cities can reduce traffic congestion and improve pedestrian safety,” said U.S. Transportation Secretary Ray LaHood.

The “Midtown In Motion” project will improve the ability of local traffic engineers to respond to changes in traffic flow caused by construction, special events, crashes and other activities based on real-time data transmitted from sensors and video cameras to the Joint Traffic Management Center (JTMC) in Queens. Through the improved traffic flow, and the addition of turn lanes, the project is also expected to improve pedestrian safety in a high-traffic area popular with tourists. The project was paid for with $1.2 million from the Federal Highway Administration (FHWA).

“Innovative systems like this one help keep America moving,” said Mendez. “Combining real-time data on traffic speed and volume with more strategic use of traffic signals helps to eliminate chokepoints as they emerge. The benefits are real and immediate for drivers and pedestrians alike.”

Existing traffic management systems automatically adjust to pre-programmed signal patterns at different times of day. The new system will allow New York City transportation engineers to proactively address factors which cause traffic backups, such as construction, special events and crashes.

The JTMC is one of hundreds of traffic management facilities across the country funded by the FHWA to address changing traffic conditions in large cities and, as needed, to dispatch ambulances or other emergency responders.