Install detection sensors overhead on existing signal mast heads when possible, instead of using in-ground sensors to reduce both initial costs and maintenance costs.
The experience of Midtown in Motion project by NYC DOT with advanced signal control systems.
Made Public Date


Midtown Manhattan
New York
New York
United States

New York Minutes: NYC's Adaptive Congestion Management System


After congestion pricing in Midtown Manhattan was vetoed by the New York State Legislature, New York City's Department of Transportation (NYC DOT) turned to advanced traffic signal systems and adaptive decision support systems to better identify and alleviate points of congestion within the test bed in real-time. Phase 1 of the Midtown in Motion test bed stretched from 2nd to 6th Avenues and 42nd to 57th Streets in Manhattan, encompassing 110 blocks and was implemented beginning in July 2011. Phase 2 expands the east-west boundaries to 1st and 9th Avenues, bringing the total number of blocks in the test bed to 270.

Before the implementation of Phase 1, nearly half of the city's 12,500 signalized intersections had received upgrades from electromechanical controllers to networked Advanced Solid State Traffic Controllers (ASTCs). The remaining signals will be upgraded by the end of 2013. The ASTCs work over a wireless network. As part of the Phase 1 deployment, hardware including 100 microwave sensors, 32 video cameras and E-ZPass readers at 23 intersections were installed within the test bed. Signals have a fixed pedestrian crossing time that does not require actuation to ensure that the primary travel mode (pedestrian) in NYC is given priority for safe crossings. Additionally, turn lanes were added to 53 intersections and turn signals were installed at 23 intersections.

Lessons Learned

Installing detection sensors for their 100+ block advanced signal control system overhead on existing signal mast heads saved construction and maintenance costs. Installing above ground sensors on signal mast heads was cheaper than installing new poles or gantries. NYC DOT opted to remove the sensors from the roadways because "'[it] was extremely difficult, if not impossible, to maintain them at a level that you needed to, due to utility cuts and just regular wear and tear,' [NYC DOT director of Systems Engineering John] Tipaldo comments. 'So everything we're using is non-intrusive.'" By removing the necessary sensors from the roadway, they reduced the likelihood that the sensors would need to be replaced due to construction or damage.

New York Minutes: NYC's Adaptive Congestion Management System

New York Minutes: NYC's Adaptive Congestion Management System
Publication Sort Date
Izzy Kington
Traffic Technology International

(Our website has many links to other organizations. While we offer these electronic linkages for your convenience in accessing transportation-related information, please be aware that when you exit our website, the privacy and accessibility policies stated on our website may not be the same as that on other websites.)

Goal Areas

Focus Areas Taxonomy: