traffic signal (AsiaTravel/

Maryland preps for statewide intelligent traffic system

Maryland is integrating new hardware and software into its transportation ecosystem to make traffic signaling decisions based on real-time conditions and alleviate congestion.

A pilot that installed 14 smart signals on state Route 24 and US 1 Business in Harford County north of Baltimore, resulted in a 13 percent reduction in total commute time for the about 40,000 daily drivers, according to Charlie Gischlar, the Maryland State Highway Administration's media relations manager.

The state plans to have these signals installed throughout 14 major corridors as part of its ongoing efforts to improve traffic operation and ease congestion.

“By replacing 20-year-old existing controls with Smart Traffic Signals, we will have the ability to respond to changes in traffic flow, as well as traffic conditions immediately – benefiting nearly 700,000 Maryland citizens across the state,” Gov. Larry Hogan said in a statement.

The system features  sensors that detect vehicle traffic, controllers that determine green time for lights and adaptors that allow signals throughout the corridor to communicate with each other. An advanced traffic management system monitors the controllers and calculates adaptive timing changes, which it sends back to controllers over broadband and cellular networks.

The state maintains 2,500 signals as part of 250 signal systems. The decisions on where to put smart signals were driven by corridor metrics, including traffic volume, intersection capacity and traffic patterns.

About the Author

Matt Leonard is a reporter/producer at GCN.

Before joining GCN, Leonard worked as a local reporter for The Smithfield Times in southeastern Virginia. In his time there he wrote about town council meetings, local crime and what to do if a beaver dam floods your back yard. Over the last few years, he has spent time at The Commonwealth Times, The Denver Post and WTVR-CBS 6. He is a graduate of Virginia Commonwealth University, where he received the faculty award for print and online journalism.

Leonard can be contacted at or follow him on Twitter @Matt_Lnrd.

Click here for previous articles by Leonard.

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