High-tech upgrade coming to Bell Road

Posted at 5:21 AM, Oct 04, 2017
and last updated 2017-10-04 09:52:09-04

Bell Road is getting a high-tech upgrade that could cut down your commute times.

"It can ease your pains as far as reliability on the roadways," said April Wire, ITS Project Manager for the Maricopa County Department of Transportation.

Fifty traffic signals between Loop 303 and Bell Road in Surprise and Loop 101 and Frank Lloyd Wright Boulevard in Scottsdale are being outfitted with adaptive technology, allowing high-tech computer systems to analyze traffic flow and change signals on their own. 

Wire, who oversees the $2.7 million, federally funded pilot project, said work is being done to get the project completed by March 2018. She said it's the largest and most collaborative of its type in the country, spanning 16 miles and requiring partnerships between the Maricopa County Department of Transportation, Arizona Department of Transportation, Surprise, Peoria, Glendale, Scottsdale and Phoenix. 

The Bell Road Corridor -- encompassing Bell Road and Frank Lloyd Wright Boulevard in Scottsdale -- was chosen due to the high traffic volume (an estimated 50,000 vehicles a day), proximity to major freeways and frequency of special events -- like Spring Training and the Waste Management Phoenix Open -- that can disrupt regular traffic patterns. 

Ten signals in Scottsdale are already up and running. Engineer Leslie Bubke told ABC15 they are now fine-tuning the system to find the "sweet spot." 

Data is analyzed using road sensors or overhead cameras that create virtual markers. 

Wire said improving traffic progression has been shown to reduce rear-end and more serious in-intersection collisions.