DuPage, Naperville traffic systems to connect to ease congestion

 
 
Updated 3/6/2018 6:13 PM
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  • William Eidson, left, a DuPage traffic engineer, explains the county's traffic management system to county board member Don Puchalski.

      William Eidson, left, a DuPage traffic engineer, explains the county's traffic management system to county board member Don Puchalski. Robert Sanchez | Staff Photographer

  • A camera at County Farm Road and the main entrance to the DuPage government complex in Wheaton is part of the Central Signal System, which allows transportation officials to remotely monitor and observe traffic.

      A camera at County Farm Road and the main entrance to the DuPage government complex in Wheaton is part of the Central Signal System, which allows transportation officials to remotely monitor and observe traffic. Bev Horne | Staff Photographer

  • DuPage County officials can monitor traffic from two locations, including the department of transportation office, above, and the highway maintenance building.

    DuPage County officials can monitor traffic from two locations, including the department of transportation office, above, and the highway maintenance building. courtesy of Joan Olson

DuPage County is going to expand a system that allows transportation officials to remotely monitor traffic and make real-time adjustments to conditions.

The roughly $4.5 million project will increase the number of traffic signals in DuPage's Central Signal System to 169 from 72. The county also plans to connect its traffic management system to one used by Naperville.

Officials say the goal is to reduce congestion.

"We're going to work with Naperville to use the software's capabilities to collaborate between agencies to improve traffic flow in and around the city of Naperville," said William Eidson, a county traffic engineer.

Members of the county board's transportation committee on Tuesday supported a proposed agreement to connect with Naperville's system. The full board will vote on March 13.

"This partnership will allow an easier flow of traffic for motorists in DuPage County, and allow both DuPage County and Naperville to collaborate on traffic adjustments as needed," said Don Puchalski, committee chairman.

The county's system currently covers nine highways in north-central DuPage.

Christopher Snyder, director of transportation, said the system allows officials to use 17 strategically placed cameras to see accidents and other incidents.

"We're also able to remotely make changes to traffic signal timings to get around the event," he said.

For example, officials turned off a left-turn arrow at the intersection of Bloomingdale Road and Fullerton Avenue when crews were fixing a water main break there in November.

"Once the village reopened the road, we put the arrow back in," Eidson said.

As part of construction slated to begin early next year, the system will be expanded to include 97 signalized intersections in the I-88 and 75th Street corridors and on surrounding county highways. Forty-one additional cameras also will be installed.

The federal government is paying for most of the project's $4.5 million price tag.

Once their systems are connected, Naperville and county officials will be able to share traffic data and video feeds.

Bill Novack, Naperville's director of transportation, engineering and development, said the city has been working on its centralized traffic management system since 2016. The city has 32 traffic signals on its system with plans to add 10 more.

"In 2017, we installed equipment along Washington Street in our effort to modernize our signal system," Novack said. "Connecting with DuPage County's system is the next step toward our goal to allow real-time, systemwide remote programming and operation."

DuPage eventually hopes to connect all county traffic signals. It also wants to link to signal systems owned by IDOT and municipalities.

"It's kind of a long-range goal for what this system would ultimately be," Eidson said.

Of the roughly 900 traffic signals in DuPage, about one-third are owned by the county and about one-third belong to IDOT. The rest belong to municipalities.

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