City of Phoenix using new smart cameras to improve traffic, safety

PHOENIX (3TV/CBS 5) – The City of Phoenix says it is using unique technology to make our streets safer. It started a new pilot program and installed smart cameras at two busy intersections in downtown Phoenix.

Arizona State University entrepreneurs created cameras that use artificial intelligence to collect data on cars, pedestrians, and bicyclists passing by. “Valuable data that traffic engineers use to time signals and optimize signals and study safety countermeasures,” said Simon Ramos, field services superintendent with the City of Phoenix.

The city’s traffic management center can monitor the camera feeds at the intersections of 3rd Avenue, Adams, and 1st Avenue and Taylor. Ramos says the technology monitors traffic patterns and that data could help improve traffic congestion, especially during rush hour. “It could help us better optimize our traffic signals, respond better to traffic and accommodate traffic flow,” said Ramos.

Ramos says the cameras can also detect situations where pedestrians could have been hit. That data can identify hot spots or dangerous areas, which Ramos said can help the city make changes like signal timing or markings on the road. “Software will identify how close the vehicle and pedestrian are classified as a near miss,” said Ramos.

The cameras were first installed in August, and city officials say they will stay up for at least a year. Officials also want to see how the smart cameras hold up next year in the summer heat.

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