Traffic-going with the flow
By Dave Emanuel
The only people who have never been stuck in traffic in Snellville, Lawrenceville, Grayson, Loganville, have never driven in those cities. In fact, that’s the story in every city in Gwinnett County.
With a population in excess of 800,000 people, most of whom drive to work or school, it’s not surprising that traffic congestion is a major problem throughout the county.
During peak drive times, the sheer volume of vehicles on major arteries often makes for slow-going. Throw in a traffic accident, road construction or disabled vehicle, and slow-going can quickly become no-going.
In Snellville, vehicle count statistics tell the story. According to the Georgia Department of Transport-ation, (GDOT) during 2013, traffic volume on the major roads within the city was:
•38,610 vpd - Route 124 north of Reagan Parkway •48,020 vpd - Route 124 north of US Highway 78 • 28,890 vpd - SR 124 south of US Highway 78 •58,530 vpd US Highway 78 west of SR 124 •37,540 vpd - US Highway 78 east of SR 124 (vpd- vehicles per day)
Highways 78 and 124 are just two of the roadways that Gwinnett County traffic engineers monitor from the Traffic Control Center. The monitoring system includes approximately 200 cameras located at key intersections throughout the county. The cameras are part of the Intelligent Transportation System, which also enables engineers to override standard signal timing if necessary to address an unusual traffic situation.
Traffic engineers can also alter standard signal timing as traffic flow patterns change over time. Recently, a few members of the Snellville City Council met with engineers Chuck Bailey and Tom Sever to discuss the city’s traffic congestion, and possible solutions. A review of current traffic patterns may lead to adjustments in signal timing that will improve traffic flow, particularly during off-peak travel times.
Owing to the high volume of traffic during rush hours, adjustments in signal timing won’t have much impact during those times. Significant improvements in traffic flow during peak travel times will require physical changes—such as the continuous flow intersection that will transform traffic patterns at Highways 78 and 124.
If you’d like to get some insight into the traffic patterns that traffic engineers see, go to Gwinnett County’s “Smart Commute” web site. Click Here.
The video on the home page is a live feed from traffic cameras positioned at intersections throughout the county. The view changes every 15 seconds as the system cycles through pre-selected cameras. If you’d like to view a specific area, click on the map at the upper right. Then click on one of the map’s camera icons and the view will zoom into the area you’re interested in viewing. Clicking on one of the cameras on the zoomed-in map will bring up a still image of the intersection. (The still images change periodically.)
Below the main image are three small images that display the camera feed currently being viewed and the feeds from the cameras at the two closest intersections. By clicking the appropriate image, you can move from camera to camera all along your selected highway. It’s a good way to check out traffic volume before you leave for home or work.
Dave Emanuel is Vice President of Random Technologies, a manufacturing company in Loganville, and a Snellville City Councilman. To read more from Dave Emanuel visit http://www.cuttothe-chase.net