The National Works Agency’s Traffic Management Unit has made steady progress in its implementation of the country’s Intelligent Transportation System (ITS). The ITS project aims to use transportation technology to automate the operations of traffic signals; improve the ability to detect and respond to incidents, such as disabled vehicles and to improve coordination between the traffic management and traffic enforcement agencies. The ITS project has been divided into seven phases.
Phase One – Traffic Signal Controller Equipment Upgrade.
Under Phase One of the project, all traffic signal controller equipment were upgraded from electrometrical to computer based. Phase One has been successfully implemented with all traffic signal controller equipment in Jamaica fully upgraded.
Phase Two – Traffic Management Center (TMU)
The Center which is located at the NWA’s Corporate Office in Kingston has been completed. It is the focal point where all field devices such as traffic signals, road sensors and cameras are connected to specialized software to provide monitoring and control of traffic flow along major roadways.
Phase Three - Communication System
The ITS project requires a communication system to connect field devices such as traffic signals and cameras to the TMC. The NWA over several years has managed, through partnering with local private telecommunication operators, to construct a dedicated communication infrastructure based on fiber optic technology. The fibre optic cable plant currently covers 80% of the main road network in Kingston and extends to Bull Bay, St. Andrew, as well as Spanish Town and Portmore, St. Catherine.
Phase Four – Traffic Signal Interconnection
The focus for the period 2016 -18 is to link traffic signals along the major corridors of Kingston. A total of 80 traffic signals and 30 Cameras are expected to be connected to the TMC in 2016. The following corridors will have their traffic signals linked to the TMC, so that their operation can be synchronized to reduce stops between signals:
• Constant Spring Road to Half-Way Tree Road
• Old Hope Road to Hope Road to Hagley Park Road
• Upper Waterloo Road to Waterloo Road to Trafalgar Road
• Oxford Road
• Knutsford Boulevard
Phase Five - Travel Time SurveyS
Travel time surveys will be conducted along every major roadway to measure travel times at different times of the day. This is an important task that must be done to measure the performance of each corridor before and after the traffic signals are retimed. The travel time and delay survey is also used to identify bottleneck intersections, so that the TMU can focus special attention at these locations with regards to improvement options.
Phase Six – Traffic Signal Retiming Program
Currently, the green times at each traffic signal is fixed regardless of the changes in traffic demand. The non-responsive operation of traffic signals causes an increase in congestion as adequate green times are not provided when it is needed. The data collected from the travel time surveys will be used in special traffic signal timing modeling software to determine the optimal green times for different times of the day. All traffic signals in Kingston will be retimed.
Phase seven – Traffic Signals Improvement Program
The final phase of the signal improvement program involves the identification of intersections in need of traffic signals, and the rehabilitation of existing systems to add capacity to respective roadways. With funding support in the amount of $66 million from the Ministry of Transport, Works and Housings and an additional $92 million from the Road Maintenance Fund, the NWA will be installing new traffic signals at the following locations:
• Old Hope Road/Eureka Avenue
• Old Hope Road /UTECH main entrance
• Golding Avenue/ University Hospital main entrance
• Old Hope Rd/Retreat Avenue
• Munroe Rd/Wellington Avenue
• Spanish Town Bypass/ John’s Road
• Spanish Town Bypass /Job Lane
• Spanish Town Bypass/Brunswick Avenue
• Municipal Blvd/Passage Fort/Grange Lane
• Spanish Town Rd- St. Andrew Technical High School Entrance
A number of existing traffic signals have also been identified for rehabilitation in order to improve their operation. The rehabilitation targets those signals with high incidences of maintenance due to faulty wiring, equipment failure, poor visibility and missing pedestrian signals. The following signalized intersections have been rehabilitated.
• Waterloo Road /Hope Road
• Old Hope Road/Oxford Rd/Tom Redcam Road
• Oxford Road/Half-Way Tree Road
• Duke Street/Charles Street