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ITS system proposed to end Space Center traffic problems

Brevard County, Florida officials want to install a US$2.5 million ITS system to help relieve traffic congestion near the Kennedy Space Center. Many of the Center's 14,500 workers travel along State Road 405 and State Road 50 during their daily commutes, as well as large numbers of space shuttle spectators who jam these roadways before and after launches. Transportation engineers want to link and computerize the traffic signals on these highways between US 1 and Interstate 95.

“Connected by fiber-optic cable, these signals would adjust green-yellow-red timing in unison as traffic patterns change,” says Bob Kamm, director of the Space Coast Transportation Planning Organization. “On State Road 405, two-thirds of the entire traffic volume occurs in the morning and evening shift-change periods from the space center. So that's an ideal situation to set up the signals to facilitate that flow.” Kamm has requested funds for the project in the upcoming federal transportation bill.

Key to the project is the fiber-optic cable that runs along State Road 405 and State Road 50, between the interstate and US 1, that was installed by the Florida Department of Transportation in 2007. These cables are offshoots of a trunk line that was installed along I-95 to operate unmanned cameras during the six-lane expansion project. Kamm says, “There's already fiber-optic in the ground that allows traffic signals to talk to each other. It allows remote control of those traffic signals from a center, such as the one in Viera. So we can monitor those signals with cameras. We can manually override timings.”

Kamm has told Brevard County commissioners, that because cabling is in place, defraying expenses, the US$2.5 million request is “relatively modest.” “The space center is an internationally known facility for its high technology. We should not be using 1950-vintage traffic signals at its front door,” Kamm says.
 

May 28, 2009

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