Over the past 15 years, traffic has increased dramatically in the City of Overland Park. With this increase in traffic, it takes motorists longer to get to work or make it to their favorite grocery store.
This increase in travel delays has become our resident’s number one concern. For this reason the city has created a proactive Capital Improvement Program to widen our busiest streets. Even with our aggressive construction program the city has looked for other ways to improve the efficiency of our existing roads.
Use of Traffic Technology
In addition to widening existing roads, the city has begun adding technology to road projects to help manage roads more effectively. Technology elements include:
- Closed Circuit Television (CCTV) Cameras
- Fiber Optic Cable
- Dynamic Message Signs
- Traffic Signal Controllers
- Traveler Information Web site
- Traffic Operations Center
Closed Circuit Television Cameras
Currently, the city utilizes 80 Closed Circuit TV (CCTV) cameras to ensure that traffic is flowing efficiently. If there is a large backup, engineers use the cameras to try and pinpoint the problem. Through the use of the cameras and in coordination with city police, engineers are often able to determine if the congestion was caused by an accident. If the congestion is caused by an accident, the timings of adjacent traffic signals can be adjusted remotely.
The City also uses the cameras to monitor recurring congestion in order to develop traffic signal timings that may help alleviate some of the back ups.
Fiber Optic Cable
Since 2002, Overland Park has been installing fiber optic cable to city owned facilities and traffic signals. The city has installed fiber long several arterials including Santa Fe, 87th Street, Quivira Road, Metcalf Avenue, 119th Street, 135th Street and US Highway 69. The fiber between city facilities has improved network and phone communications between city departments. The fiber to signalized intersections has allowed the city to enhance communication to the traffic signal controllers running the intersections. As mentioned earlier, the city has installed CCTV cameras at a number of the busiest intersections located near this fiber optic cable. The fiber optic cable allows operators to view real-time analog video feeds from the CCTV cameras.
Dynamic Message Signs
The city has installed eight Dynamic Message Signs (DMS) in the vicinity of 135th Street and Metcalf Avenue as well as 135th Street and Antioch Road to provide traffic information to motorists. Operators at the Traffic Operations Center can place messages on the signs to alert motorists of unsafe conditions ahead, lanes blocked, construction, and Amber Alerts.
Traffic Signal Controllers
Each signalized intersection is operated by a traffic signal controller. The traffic signal controller is the device that controls the signal. The traffic signal controller also stores all the timing parameters of how long each direction should stay green, yellow and red. Operators at the Traffic Operations Center can remotely monitor the operations of most of the signals in the city and change their timing parameters as needed.
Also the city has installed a new traffic signal system that has enhanced the operator’s ability to monitor traffic signals and ensure their proper operation.
Traveler Information Web Site
The purpose of the web site is to provide motorists with real-time traffic information so they can choose the best routes for their daily commutes.
Currently, the web site shows static images from all 80 of the city’s Closed Circuit TV cameras and streaming video from 25 of the 80 cameras.
Traffic Operation Center (TOC)
The city monitors its traffic signals from the traffic operations center located in the Command and Control Center. The TOC is staffed Monday through Friday from 7 a.m. to 6 p.m. and during special events as needed. From this location, staff can remotely adjust signal timings, observe traffic conditions from CCTV cameras and display messages on the dynamic message signs.