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Computers help direct traffic

MONCTON, N.B. -- Systems designed to optimize traffic flow by a vehicle's arrival throughout the city of Moncton ar...

MONCTON, N.B. — Systems designed to optimize traffic flow by a vehicle’s arrival throughout the city of Moncton are not being used properly.

These elaborate systems found at 58 intersections in the city of Moncton alone can keep an even flow of traffic depending on how people use the traffic lights, says Moncton’s traffic engineer Stephane Thibodeau says.

For example, when a motorist comes to an intersection and is greeted with a red light, the driver can wait a full car distance away from the white stop line and still alert the traffic system’s computerized controller of their presence.

Each lane has a detector, which all send signals to the intersection’s on-site control device. It them processes the information and that organizes the cycle to accommodate that area’s traffic.

“It’s important to realize that an intersection is more than just poles and lights. It’s a carefully planned system to optimize the ability of traffic in that specific area to flow smoothly,” he continued.

Whether the intersection is semi- or fully-activated by traffic, pedestrians play a significant role in the flow, Thibodeau says, noting there is no time allowance in the regular cycle of intersections to allow walkers to cross, therefore it’s crucial that pedestrians push the button on the traffic pole that alerts the intersection’s computerized system to work them into the cycle.

Thibodeau says drivers are fortunate in Moncton. Even though the city is growing and traffic has increased in recent years due to an influx of new residents and families owning more vehicles, he said Metro Moncton is an easy region to manoeuvre a car through.

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