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Scottsdale moves forward with update to intelligent transportation system

A view of Scottsdale Road in Old Town. (Photo Arianna Grainey/DigitalFreePress)
Scottsdale traffic signal equipment to get upgrades across municipality
By Terrance Thornton | Digital Free Press

Scottsdale City Council is moving forward with new technology to better detect vehicles along local thoroughfares in and around Loop 101 intersections — all thanks to a federal grant through the Congestion Mitigation and Air Quality Improvement program.

Scottsdale City Council — following a presentation by Nathan Domme of Scottsdale Traffic and the words of one Scottsdale resident Tuesday, Oct. 10 — moved forward unanimously with the acceptance of the $4,887,737 federal grant.

In his presentation, Mr. Domme, a Scottsdale traffic engineer, explained the detection systems focus on movements through intersections providing real time data of when a car approaches and leaves, in particular the Loop 101, in an effort to improve real-time traffic understanding, mitigation and flow.

“It collects real-time data, it doesn’t store anything, it identifies as cars are going through,” Mr. Domme said in response to questions poised by Councilman Barry Graham. “The most storage it will have is a collection of data of through movements. It doesn’t store license plates. It doesn’t store even make and model of cars; it just identifies when a car is stopped at an intersection and alerts that it needs to probably change the signal.”

Following Councilman Graham’s follow-up questions, Mayor David Ortega provided time for Police Chief Jeff Walther to explain police access to video feeds of intersections throughout the municipality.

“We are not tapped into this specific consent agenda item, but we are tapped into the regular, city-owned traffic cameras at intersections,” he said explaining the standard operating procedure for when those are used in the event of an accident to dispatch emergency response services. Or, in other cases, when a crime has occurred.

The city was awarded a federal grant through the Congestion Mitigation and Air Quality Improvement program in the total amount of $4,887,737 to upgrade vehicle detection systems and traffic signal controller cabinets within 2 miles of Loop 101 in the city, documents show.

“The project consists of replacing existing loop detectors with advanced vehicle detection technologies at 76 signalized intersections and upgrading 37 signal controller cabinets,” Hong Huo, Scottsdale traffic engineer, said in his Oct. 10 written report to City Council. “The purpose of these improvements is to provide more flexibility for traffic signal operation, reduce traffic delays and improve traffic efficiency. The new detection system will also add bike detection and real-time traffic data collection capabilities.”

City officials report funding occurred in two phases: $2,527,240, which was initially awarded for the procurement of equipment and materials.

“Later, city staff applied and received additional close-out funding in the amount of $2,360,497 to cover construction costs, totaling $4,887,737,” Mr. Huo said in his report to City Council.

City Council, last week, approved an additional budget appropriation of $2,360,497 to cover construction costs, documents show. Furthermore, what was approved includes:

A Fiscal Year 2023/24 Capital Grant Budget Appropriation Transfer, of up to $2,360,497, from the Capital Improvement Program (CIP) Contingency for Future Grants and the CIP Transportation Fund Contingency to the Intelligent Transportation System Infrastructure and Network Improvements (TH05) capital project.

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