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Hardware & Infrastructure
07:05 PM

Smart Streets, Smooth Traffic

Cameras, sensors, and a Web-based network will ease traffic flow around a planned Bay Area Ikea store

One thing about the Ikea chain of furniture stores is that they generate lots of traffic. In Dublin, Calif., plans are under way to install an "intelligent transportation system," including video-surveillance cameras and road sensors, at the intersections leading to the site of an Ikea scheduled to open in 2007 to avoid adding to the Bay Area's traffic woes.

The project is part of the larger Interstate 580 "Smart Corridor" initiative that uses IT to improve traffic management along that busy highway. Similar technology already is installed at other intersections along I-580 in Dublin, Pleasanton, and Livermore.

The California Department of Transportation is funding the I-580 Smart Corridor project with a $3.5 million federal grant.

The California Department of Transportation is funding the I-580 Smart Corridor project with a $3.5 million federal grant.
Dublin expects high volumes of traffic on roadways connecting I-580 with intersections leading to the new store. "From previous experience at other Ikea stores in the Bay Area, we know traffic patterns on these roads can get really messy, especially on Saturday," says Ray Kuzbari, Dublin's traffic engineer.

Information generated by the sensors and cameras will feed into Naztec Inc.'s Streetwise software, which runs on a central computer at the Dublin Traffic Operations Center. Engineers will use the data to make quick traffic-management decisions. If there's an accident or congestion, for example, they can analyze the problem on the fly and change the timing of traffic lights to alter traffic patterns. The data also can be archived for future analysis.

Cornet Technology Inc.'s Video Convergence division is designing the project and installing the cameras, as well as about a half-mile of fiber cable and IP network communications equipment that will tie all the system's elements together.

The California Department of Transportation is funding the I-580 Smart Corridor project with a $3.5 million federal grant.

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