New Technologies Managing Utah Intersections

September 28, 2010

Salt Lake City – The Utah Department of Transportation is implementing new traffic detection technologies as part of an initiative to manage congestion more effectively and increase motorists' safety. The technologies include Magnetic Vehicle Sensing and Advanced Detectors and are currently being installed at busy high-speed intersections.

UDOT installed these technologies in late September at the intersection of Bangerter Highway and 3100 South and has already equipped other intersections across the Wasatch Front.

“We are continually researching and testing new technologies that will provide the greatest benefit to drivers. As a result, Utah is among the first states to implement these traffic detection devices in the country,” said Dave Kinnecom, director of UDOT's Traffic Operation Center.

Magnetic Vehicle Sensing is a wireless technology that uses magneto-resistive sensors to detect traffic. The sensors communicate the detection data and trigger a change in the traffic signal. The collected data is in some cases more accurate than other traffic detection methods. They can be installed in 5 to 10 minutes, reducing impacts to traffic and road invasion. The 4-inch core is inserted 2.5 inches into the ground, minimizing maintenance and replacement costs when compared to traditional inductive loops.

Advanced Detectors technology was created by a company in Lindon, UT, and is installed at intersections that exceed 40 mph, with dilemma zones. A dilemma zone is the area (100 to 500 feet) before an intersection where motorists choose to speed up to run the yellow light or stop. This technology determines each vehicle's speed and estimated arrival time to the stop line. It then extends the green light and helps reduce the number of crashes or red-light running attempts. These detectors are mounted above ground and are installed with little or no impact to traffic.