An Inside Look
The GRIDSMART System in Athens, Georgia
125,000 residents call Athens, Georgia home. Located in the smallest county in the state, the City of Athens is familiar with operating under strained budgets. With 172 signalized intersections and extreme fluctuations in traffic from sporting events at the University of Georgia, Athens’ traffic department needed to find a cost-effective technology to manage traffic for their community.
THE GRIDSMART SOLUTION
To solve their traffic problem, Athens deployed the GRIDSMART System, the world’s first field-tested, single-sensor solution for intersection actuation, performance monitoring, and data collection. While other sensors are limited to approach data, GRIDSMART has counted and classified more than 45 billion vehicles worldwide from approach, through the center of the intersection, to exit.
“With a standard video system, you can’t see the center of the intersection. With GRIDSMART, we see the center and have all views of what is happening in real-time,” said Rodney Rogers, Signal Supervisor with the City of Athens.
Additionally, GRIDSMART provides real-time performance data such as time-stamped traffic volumes, turns, and average speeds for analysis and better decision making. Athens found the data was immediately useful without additional formatting, allowing their traffic engineer to make timing recommendations and system adjustments based on real-time situations.
Athens found other video systems were expensive and limited them to one traffic approach. “With GRIDSMART, we were able to obtain left-hand turn movements through video, which sold us, along with the ease of the installation,” said Rogers. “I’ve spent hours watching the system, and I’ve never seen it fail or have a missed call.”
The traffic department also discovered other video systems were blind for several hours a day when the sun struck, leaving the systems in a max recall to move traffic. The Bell Camera points downward, preventing blind spots and exposure to weather elements. “GRIDSMART knows where the sun is, and you won’t lose focus and have a traffic disruption,” Rogers explained.
“The data is very user-friendly and comes directly to us. We are not IT guys, and we completely installed it ourselves,” said Rogers. “The data collection has also saved us fuel and overtime savings because now we don’t have to pay someone to go out at an intersection and count turns.”
As budgets continue to shrink, the city of Athens plans to deploy additional GRIDSMART Systems after experiencing the impressive technology and monetary savings. “GRIDSMART provides counts, overtime savings, and video, all in one inclusive package,” said Rogers.
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