LAKELAND, Fla. — The City of Lakeland hopes to make red lights at a few specific intersections so smart they will help prevent crashes.
- New tech involves radar-equipped sensors
- City will ask FDOT to install tech at 4 intersections
- More Polk County stories
City officials will seek permission from the Florida Department of Transportation to implement new technology at four specific intersections in the hope of increasing traffic safety.
The city’s traffic department has been studying red-light running at the intersection of Bartow Road and North Crystal Lake Drive.
They determined that 48 drivers a day were running red lights at a point so long after the light change that crossing traffic already had a green light.
There is normally about a one-second delay between a light turning red and crossing traffic getting a green light.
How the tech works
The city’s proposal involves new radar-equipped sensors at the intersections that would be able to tell if a driver is about to run a red light.
“So what it will do is continually, every millisecond, take data of moving traffic and it will compute the speed by radar and the distance from the intersection,” said traffic operations manager Angelo Rao.
Using that data, the sensor would be able to tell if a driver is going too fast to stop in time for a light change.
“That’s right,” Rao said. “Not going to make it. No way this guy or girl is going to make it.”
In that case, the sensor would send a signal to the traffic light control box at the intersection and delay the green for crossing traffic by a few seconds, potentially preventing a serious crash.
If the city obtains FDOT approval for the project, it would be one of the first places in the country to use such technology.