Building a future-proof traffic system

With a broad City Council mandate to ‘make traffic better’, the City of Quincy, MA, set out to find a traffic solution partner that could address congestion challenges throughout its network. As part of the Metro Boston area, Quincy experiences a lot of commuter traffic around and through the city.

Serving both local and regional traffic, congestion had become a significant issue in Quincy, particularly within the city’s downtown core due to its high level of economic activity, close proximity to a major highway route, and public transit systems. With congestion being a high priority issue, Quincy’s traffic team had the following key goals:

  • Reduce the window of time where rush hours is extremely congested

  • Make midday traffic move more predictably

  • Help drivers shave minutes off daily commutes

  • Develop remote monitoring capabilities

With a plan to implement a decentralized adaptive signal system, the traffic team identified the need to make other improvements and upgrades to existing infrastructure to properly support an adaptive signal system, including:

  • Adding detection capabilities throughout the network

  • Deploying methods to collect traffic data and monitor performance measures

  • Remotely communicate between intersections for the first time

“Installing Miovision technology in as many places as we did enabled us to have far better data, the ability to remotely monitor traffic conditions in real-time, the ability to detect pedestrians before even activating the push button, and the ability to evaluate how our adaptive system was performing,” explains Chris Cassani, Director, City of Quincy Department of Traffic, Parking, Alarm and Lighting.

Our traffic systems are first-class right now because of Miovision—it’s an essential tool we couldn’t live without.

The combination of Miovision Video Detection and Performance Measures, paired with Rapid Flow Technologies Surtrac adaptive system, Quincy’s traffic team was able to:

  • Reduce congestion by 10 to 15 percent by deploying an adaptive control system supported by reliable detection and performance measures

  • Fix historical traffic problems instantly by adding detection at key problem areas within the network

  • Better serve pedestrian and vehicular traffic within the downtown core by collecting real-time data to change signals based on demand though the SurTrac Adaptive System

  • Evaluate response times for emergency preemption events

  • Effortlessly respond to fluctuating traffic demands due to COVID-19

Using detection to achieve instant improvements

Starting with a baseline of legacy detection equipment (loops), the City of Quincy saw instant improvements in key areas by simply installing Miovision SmartLink, SmartSense, and SmartView 360 hardware at these intersections. This set of hardware, part of the Miovision TrafficLink platform, gave the traffic team video-based detection that was much more reliable than the loop technology they had been using.

Miovision Video Detection not only improved detection capabilities, but also gave the traffic team access to verifiable video data, as well as remote access to video streaming so they could see what was happening at an intersection in real-time. This upgrade to the existing infrastructure helped solve historical traffic problems immediately.

For example, at a bridge crossing within the Quincy network, vehicles weren’t driving far enough forward to be detected by the only loop installed at the crossing. This meant that vehicles were not being served as quickly as they should have been, forcing drivers to wait at the bridge for long periods of time.

The second we installed Miovision, that problem was solved. Permanently.

At another location running a pre-timed cycle length, Miovision allowed for real-time detection for the first time. By running the CAT-5 cable overhead, the City accomplished this feat without having to even trench underground. ‘If you’re willing to get creative with how you mount the camera and run the cable, you can install Miovision virtually anywhere,’ added Cassani.


Understanding network trends through performance measures

The Quincy traffic team started with deploying improved detection throughout the network to support the implementation of an adaptive control system. Once the Surtrac adaptive system was up and running, they turned their attention to identifying and filling in additional gaps, such as gathering and analyzing traffic data through performance measures.

Cassani and his team saw the addition of the Miovision Performance Measures application as an opportunity to not only support the new adaptive system, but to also provide a reliable baseline of data to see how the network is performing.

“It’s really that constant companion for our team to help us figure out if we’re seeing everything we need to see, if we’re missing anything,” explains Cassani. “The performance measures allow us to have daily, weekly, monthly report cards of how well traffic is flowing and if the changes we’re making have the impact we expect.”

With access to this type of data, the Quincy traffic team is able to take the guesswork out of identifying trends and potential issues. Additionally, through the video footage the team has access to, they can actually see exactly what’s happening. This allows them to identify why data may be skewed in certain cases that weren’t anticipated in the adaptive modeling, such as unplanned construction or emergency vehicle preemption.

“We don’t have a 24-hour command center,” says Cassani. “But with the ability to recall video and even stream it remotely, we can see how traffic is performing and even anticipate how it might be improved by delving into the data. It enables us to have a virtual command center that’s as effective as one you might see at a larger city.”

Miovision technology has helped us collect data about just how busy a corridor like that is, which has really helped us to advocate for the funding needed to better serve pedestrian traffic.”

Advocating for pedestrians and bicycles

Quincy wanted to make improvements to their transportation network to better protect citizens and encourage walking and bicycling. Transportation officials worked closely with cycling advocates to install miles of new bike lanes, yet found that in a city where some intersections served upwards of 5,000 pedestrians a day, there was no cohesive pedestrian advocacy group to partner with to analyze walking trends to guide future improvements.

Forming a partnership for continuous improvements

Continued support from Miovision experts has helped the City of Quincy get the most out of their deployment of Video Detection and Performance Measures. This collaborative relationship has also supported the successful integration with Rapid Flow Technologies’ Surtrac adaptive system. This collaborative partnership, in addition to Miovision’s dedication to continuously improving its platform, has allowed Quincy to see their deployment of Miovision technology as a future-proof investment.

“We, as the end customer, see things through different eyes,” adds Cassani. “It’s endlessly beneficial to have a relationship like this.”

Quincy’s relationship with Miovision in many ways stemmed from a common partner – Ocean State Signal of Smithfield, RI. Ocean State Signal, Miovision’s New England distribution partner, has worked with Quincy for many years by providing equipment and support. ‘We trust Ocean State to be there for us when we need them, and we’ve had that sort of relationship with them for many years,’ said Cassani. ‘They represent the best in the industry, and provide an unbeatable level of professional support. Their trust in Miovision was quickly shared in our department ever since we installed our first system,’ added Cassani.