In an effort to up safety and improve quality of life in the city, Seattle has partnered up with German engineering giant Siemens to introduce Concert – an integrated traffic management platform that links traffic control centers, intersection controllers and parking guidance systems across the city. The platform promises to decrease the impact of traffic incidents and make traffic management easier around sporting events. Using the software, stoplights can be programmed to adjust to minute-by-minute changes on the ground.
The City of Seattle bought Concert for $651,000 in an effort to manage its traffic situation, which has been aggravated by the recent influx of newcomers; the purchase was financed by the $13 million Move Seattle Levy approved by voters last year.
The platform will integrate the city’s existing dynamic message sign management system, the local travel time system, the Washington State Department of Transportation (WSDOT) freeway system, as well as Siemens’ TACTICS Central Traffic Management Software – essentially connecting what have traditionally been separate traffic management systems in and around Seattle. By consolidating data from the different traffic platforms and integrating information about weather, road conditions and data from special events like concerts and sporting games into a single platform, the software will provide the City of Seattle with real-time comprehensive view of traffic. Using this data, the City will be able to identify traffic-related incidents, as well as to plan traffic movement more effectively. Operators, travelers, traffic control systems, and traffic planners will be able to access this information through the use of dynamic maps, message signs and posts on the WSDOT website.
A narrow strip that runs from north to south and is surrounded by water and mountains, Seattle’s unique geography – the thing that makes it so attractive in the first place – is also the very reason that it is so difficult for commuters to navigate. Last year, Seattle was ranked the sixth most congested city on Texas A&M Institute’s Urban Mobility Scorecard.
Director of the Seattle Department of Transportation Scott Kubly told Cities Today that that the city “is committed to improving traffic operations in and around our downtown core through the use of advanced software and hardware.” He went on to note that the city’s ultimate objective is to reduce congestion and improve the city’s overall driving experience.