The city is working in conjunction with Carnegie Mellon University’s Transportation Center, Traffic21 and foundation partners to extend a new technology that uses real-time traffic signals to adapt instantly to shifting traffic conditions.
The Scalable Urban Traffic Control system, or Surtrac, extension is part of a new $1.8 million pilot project to bring “smart traffic technology” that will extend from the city’s east end neighborhoods most of the way to downtown Pittsburgh.
The already established Surtrac system deployed at 18 intersections in East Liberty and Shadyside has cut vehicle wait times by 42 percent, travel times by 24 percent and vehicle emissions by 21 percent, according to a news release from Mayor Bill Peduto.
A decentralized system, Surtrac tracks shifting traffic flows and constantly adjusts green lights to changing conditions on each street, with each intersection coordinating their signals with one another.
The city plans to expand the system from the border at Penn and Braddock avenues in Point Breeze through Larimer, East Liberty, Friendship, Bloomfield, Shadyside, and Oakland to Baum Blvd at Craig Street and Bigelow Boulevard, the start of a main entryway to downtown Pittsburgh.
Funding for the project was provided by UPMC, the Hillman Foundation, the Heinz Endowments and the R.K. Mellon Foundation, along with the city, U.S. Department of Transportation and PennDOT. The public funding for the project totaled $512,000; foundation funding was $1.3 million.