A NJ highway to get new technology to protect pedestrians

The New Jersey Department of Transportation has launched a new project along a section of Route 129 in Trenton that will include the use of a nation-first system to regulate traffic signals and improve pedestrian safety.

The plans call for a series of improvements to be made at three signalized intersections on Route 129 at Lalor Street, Cass Street and Hamilton Avenue, an area where a dozen pedestrians have been killed and many more injured since 2000.

According to DOT Commissioner Diane Gutierrez-Scaccetti, a red clearance traffic light extension system is being implemented that will detect vehicles approaching a crosswalk.

“Basically, we let the red light stay on a little longer, hoping that pedestrians have more time to cross the street,” he said.

Smart predictive technology

Gutiérrez-Scaccetti explained that this intelligent and predictive technology detects the speed of a vehicle approaching an intersection and automatically adjusts for traffic signal changes.

“That means instead of the light being green longer, it will be red longer, and that will allow pedestrians a better amount of time.”

He said this type of technology is already being used at some intersections to start turning a traffic light from red to green when a vehicle approaches, but for this project on Route 129, “we see traffic approaching, we know traffic is approaching.” , let the traffic light stay red just a little longer so that pedestrians have enough time to cross.”

Gutiérrez-Scaccetti emphasized that the goal is security.

“Drivers may have to wait a few more seconds, but it’s literally seconds, they’re not waiting minutes, they’re waiting seconds.

He noted that local police enforcement is also a piece of the security puzzle.

Do not walk by New York traffic sign

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Other improvements are also being made.

“We’re putting up some rear license plates at traffic lights, so the color of the light is clear to all motorists, and we’re putting up a red signal ahead mounted on the road. We have one on the ground, but we hope to put one up high where we think people can see it better,” Gutierrez-Scaccetti said.

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The commissioner said many motorists exiting I-295 onto Route 129 are going fast, so it’s important to be warned of the sign ahead.

She said additional traffic lights and a flashing crosswalk signal will also be added, which will illuminate when people walk in the crosswalk.

Gutierrez-Scaccetti said this project is about “making small changes that we think will make a big difference.”

look where you’re going

Gutierrez-Scaccetti noted that while these improvements are being made, a safe travel education campaign will soon be launched to remind pedestrians to pay attention to what they are doing.

“We need people walking and crossing the street not to look at their phones, but to be aware of where they are,” Gutierrez-Scaccetti said. “I’ve literally seen people run into a pole because they’re looking at their phone, reading a text message and they have no idea there’s a utility pole in front of them and they just run into it.”

She said the concept development phase of a longer-term project is just beginning and may eventually involve structural changes to Route 129, including wider pedestrian islands.

David Matthau is a reporter for New Jersey 101.5. You can reach him at [email protected]

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