NYC Testing New Technology Aimed At Reducing Traffic Congestion

Bloomberg Optimistic, Says Tie-Ups Could Be Eased With The Push Of A Button

NEW YORK (CBSNewYork) — What if you could fix a traffic jam with a push of a button?

It might be just wishful thinking or it could become reality under a new high-tech traffic monitoring system unveiled by Mayor Michael Bloomberg — optimistically called “Midtown in Motion.”

Traffic engineers in the city’s new high-tech Traffic Management Center don’t look like wizards, but they may have the ability to make traffic congestion disappear, reports CBS 2’s Marcia Kramer.

“This system is about to take a quantum leap forward,” Bloomberg said Monday.

WCBS 880’s Peter Haskell reports: City Testing New Way To Ease Traffic

The new program is sort of big brother-ish. An array of new traffic monitoring gear, including microwave sensors, traffic video cameras and E-ZPass readers will be used to measure traffic volume at 23 intersections. The technology will allow traffic experts to spot traffic tie-ups or unusual congestion and then do something about it.

“It will allow engineers to quickly identify congestion choke points as they occur and what’s most important, they’ll then be able to remotely alter traffic signal patterns to begin to clear up Midtown jams at the touch of a button,” Bloomberg said.

1010 WINS’ Stan Brooks reports: Traffic Jams Cleared At The Touch Of A Button

The new anti-congestion plan will operate in a 110-square block area from Second to Sixth avenues and from 42nd to 57th streets.

“We all know that Midtown at rush hour is always packed, but now engineers can sit there and touch buttons to turn lights green quicker, leave it on green quicker, leave it off green quicker,” Bloomberg said.

Neither the mayor nor his transportation commissioner is promising instant relief, just quicker relief, and a stab at making it better for drivers.

“I don’t want anybody to think that starting tomorrow morning, there will never be another traffic jam,” Bloomberg said.

The federal government is picking up $600,000 of the $1.6 million price tag. If it works, the system could be in place city-wide by 2013.

“For far too long Midtown traffic was very much like the weather, you know, everybody commented on it but nobody seemed to be able to do anything about it,” Department of Transportation Commissioner Janette Sadik-Khan said.

“Our traffic engineers actually have the tools they need to identify a problem and to respond in real-time.”

If the anti-congestion plan works the city plans to expand it to high trafficked areas in all five boroughs. The next area to get the new traffic upgrade is expected someplace in Manhattan, probably Midtown west.

Do you think this new system will work? Sound off below in our comments section…

More from Marcia Kramer
  • sbt4hgf9trfol

    I”d like to know more about how they think it will help. If you turn a light green in one place, the cross traffice will get backed up.

    I would think that what would also help is to be able to let drivers know about alternate routes that would be faster, directing cars to a different north south or east west street so that under used streets can take some of the burden off of over used streets..

  • Matt

    I can’t believe people like the author get paid to write sentences like this:

    “The new program is sort of big brother-ish”

    • Harry

      LOL….the part it reads “brother-ish” took me a few seconds to actually understand the word, as you never expect a word like that in mainstream media.

  • Paul

    I bet this is another one of the Doomberg projects like the SCOUT program….they keep wasting our money..Turdberg should be investigated….we are broke and he keeps wasting it….traffic jams caused by his stupid pedestrian plazas and bike lanes..who is he paying our money to???

  • Bobbers

    They have been doing this in Sydney Austrailia for 15yrs. Works like a charm. To help defray the costs, when somebody wants to clear a corridor for a motorcade or a protest, they charge them, including government officials. Imagine how much money nyc could make during the UNGA…

  • Jeffrey Monheit

    Hate surveillance cameras? Join this group:

    • Chlamydia Wiggins

      Why? I love surveillance cameras! I always be flashin’ my booty up in thems.

  • akw

    “The federal government is picking up $600,000 of the $1.6 million price tag.”

    WHY? The federal government is BROKE. Take it out of YOUR pocket, Bloomberg!!

    • RileyT

      That was my reaction as well… Why is the Federal Government paying for traffic light controls in NYC ?

  • Vic Livingston

    MICROWAVE SENSORS? To this former Daily News reporter, this sounds like a COVER STORY… perhaps to deflect media attention from the U.S. government’s deployment of a nationwide, cell tower-mounted microwave radio frequency directed energy weapon system (Raytheon U.S. Patent 7629918) being used by Lockheed Martin contractor operatives to silently torture, impair and “menticide” Americans who have been extrajudicially targeted as “dissidents” or undesirables — microwave radio frequency crimes against humanity. I know, because I exposed this heinous torture matrix — and I’m a victim, too. Remember me, Marcia? Read this:

    • Fuzzy

      Paranoid schizophrenia is no joke, you should make a doctor’s appointment.

      • Johnny Handsome

        You government paid fools need to understand the NEW world of psyops. When someone post something like Vic did, you are suppose to ignore it. Stating that he is crazy only brings attention to his post and makes people wonder why you made a comment. Did not your handler tell you this Fuzzy?

      • Crock-O-Shizzy

        Is “Marcia” the name of the voice in your head that told to write such fear propagated nonsense? Gimme a break, even I know this is ridiculous, and your story is full of holes and outdated. “Slow death?” Isn’t that what already happens the second you are born?

      • Vic Livingston

        Libel committed by apparent paid military contractor psyops agents also is no joke:

    • John Monotone

      You had me at ‘extrajudicially’.

  • Dave

    Roundabouts are the ultimate answer. Don’t stop traffic … let it flow.

    • Ian Vaughan

      Roundabouts symbolically diagram the average IQ of the users, a big fat ‘O’. I go through two roundabouts every day, every day there are drivers without any clue how to get through them holing up traffic or ducking out in front of people.

  • Mike

    WAR IS PEACE, FREEDOM IS SLAVERY, and IGNORANCE IS STRENGTH. The words of 1984 are coming to fruition. Fight against all forms of surveillance. Remember, a frog slowly boiled doesn’t realize it is being boiled.

  • Gene

    This mayor complained about the streets of Manhattan being much too crowded with cars. His solution: close or make narrower the streets by installing tables, chairs, plants, benches, sidewalks, bicycle lanes and any other possible obstacle! None of his “solutions” worked so far (except, of course, for the builders of the obstacles), but New Yorkers deserve his superb logic: didn’t they reelect him regardless the legal term limits?

    • Harry

      Add to that they take lanes off the Avenues(and make them bicycle lanes) and its not rocket science, all these things add up to congestion. I think DOT Commissioner and bureaucrats hardly drive in the city, so they have no feel for traffic. She’s too occupied with the carbon footprint, and lost grip on reality!

  • Charles U. Farley

    Bloomberg is a RINO Arschloch.

    • Norman56

      Undt ein Schwantzkopf.

  • Bob W

    The USSR was practically crime free, but only about 1% of the people were happy. The rules didn’t apply to them.

    • Fuzzy

      Such a relevant comment.

      • RLA Bruce

        It is relevant. ALL regulation and laws take freedom from people, some necessary and some not. If everything not required is forbidden, you have no freedom. This project has nothing to do with traffic control; sensors in the pavement that are controlled by a computer can control “traffic” just fine. Bloomberg is controllling people, not traffic.

  • Brewskie

    Why is the Federal Gov getting involved in NYC traffic problems?

    • Johnny Handsome

      Um, where do you think road and traffic money comes from Brewskie? The Traffic Fairy? Leave a hubcap under your pillow and in the morning you have 25 billion dollars to replace street signs and repair roads?

  • Charles Lee

    I’m beginning to think that our transportation that Mayor Bloonberg has put together is modern day western European system congestion pricing that was modeled after London, England and Paris, France, and it isn’t working for the motorist. The only way to solve it, is by revival our crumbling our transportation from scratch, big time.

  • Earl


    While this approach sounds great on the surface. I hope that any abrupt change in traffic signal pattern will cause accidents, as vehicles may be moving too fast to adjust to the change

    • Fuzzy

      I’m fairly certain that traffic management professionals are smarter than that.

  • Roger Bouws

    And New York wonders why they have no money and are bankrupt!

    If they would not spend moeny like this they might have some money, I am sure NT drivers would cope until they have a positive budget?


    This is all part of a scheme to get congestion pricing. Reading E-Zpass with out the onwers consent is an illegal invasion of privacy. So now they are all crimninals. By the way if they can read your tag they will be able to charge your tag soon enough. Added bus and bike lanes are intentionally being added to choke traffic flow to enable the city to ad this invaluable uneeded service. Remove on the street parking from midtwon and save the federal taxpayer some wasted spending money (debt ceiling reference)…

  • davec


    ““It will allow engineers to quickly identify congestion choke points as they occur and what’s most important, they’ll then be able to remotely alter traffic signal patterns to begin to clear up Midtown jams at the touch of a button,” Bloomberg said.”

    OLD TECHNOLOGY, why hasnt it been done before now? Because its NOT about TRAFFIC. Its about the English style Police State (1984)

    Microwave, huh? Is that the same frequencies as the ordinary microwave oven? Theyll belt out several hundred watts with thh door off…

    • Fuzzy

      Fun fact: Satellites use transmissions in the microwave spectrum to send information all the time.

      Also, you can curse on the internet.

      • RLA Bruce

        Microwaves travel in a straight line and need line-of-sight relay towers. In communications they are aimed from satellite to tower to tower. Don’t know where these are aimed. Microwaves CAN be used as a weapon. I wouldn’t be so quick to trust Bloomberg. After all, just because you’re paranoid doesn’t mean someone’s not out to get you!

  • Bob

    Here is the expanded 1960s proof of concept in action. ;-)

  • Fanny Forbes Franklen

    “Government is a broker in pillage, and every election is a sort of advance auction in stolen goods.” ~ H. L. Mencken


  • joecool

    Somebody copy all these favorable reports, and let’s check in again in a year! I’m betting it will be a mess.

  • Thomas Stetson Elliott

    Maybe in another 50 years NYC will discover that computers can already do this. There’s hardly any need to employ “engineers” to “push buttons.”

    • Andrew

      no only can computers do it, they can do it a lot more effectively. I should hope there are not a bunch of union 100 buck an hour folks sitting around pushing buttons, but a sophisticated genetic algorithm running on a modern server making decisions. Its more complex then you think (consider the interactions of multiple intersections, it becomes an exponentially more complex problem – focusing a human on one intersection could make overall problems worse). Considering the price, I’d say this is simply a remote system designed to count cars and control the lights.. not exactly modern science at work…

  • Michael Collesano

    The Mayor and his Transportation Czar know no limits. I received 2 tickets last week for non-existent violations. Total fine $240. Had both thrown out – at cost of 2 hours of my time. The useless “traffic cops” just make congestion worse. Please tell me why the are REDUCING all of the traffic lanes on the Queens side of the Queensborogh (oops Koch) bridge. The other day the traffic geniuses decided to only let approaching traffic into the MidTown Tunnel at 35th St. which backed traffic on otherwise free flowing 3rd avenue back to 14th street. The buses using the bus only lanes regularly block the cross town lanes on the green lights and always use non-bus lanes themselves. The Mayor is intentionally sabotaging this City and my vote in the next election will go to any candidate who will repeal this nonsense.

    • RLA Bruce

      The aim, as always, is power and control of the sheep–er, people.

  • Cory

    Whatever happened to the “Barnes Dance”? It didn’t work either…. Traffic lights… does anyone obey them now? Well good luck….

  • mike

    thanks, I can now take New Yirk off my list of places to work or people are sheeples of the highest order..Protest or something for god’s sake grow some round spheres that give you courage..look under your seat cushions, they may have fallen there while you were watching dancing with stars and other ridiculous distractions

  • mike

    Knowing the democrats, it’s probably a backdoor into greater government control over people’s lives and a loss of freedom for America.

  • Chippy55

    We already have traffic control in Pittsburgh, it’s called synchronized signals: if you drive the speed limit, then you can catch a lot of lights while green. My advice for NYers: move. If you have friends there, then you can make friends elsewhere, and won’t have to fight the traffic, the congestion, the cabs, and the high prices. For what some people pay PER MONTH for a parking space in Manhattan, you can buy a nice brick house in Pittsburgh, plus we have 3 major sports teams, and except for Roethlisberger, they are great people.

    • ThePitts

      Yeah, but you’d have to live in Pittsburgh. LOL.

      I hear Cleveland is nice too, and cheap. Maybe New Yorkers should move there. What about Detroit?

      • davec

        Clevaland, Ohio, the “mistake on the Lake?

        Nice for what, a trash dump?

  • Frankenstu

    You do understand that this is how all Artificial Intelligence systems start taking over the world of man.

    Read your Science Fiction – People.

  • TooMuchControl

    The Federal Government is picking up $600,000 of the $1.6 million


    The TAX Payers are picking up all of the tab!

    Make no mistake! This is a REVENUE System, Not a traffic congestion system.
    Tickets will be produced by Geeks in the Office, instead of Officers on the beat.

    • Heather

      I am sure they will find some way to use this system to “create” traffic violations. It is probably a big ATM machine.

      You can channel traffic to conveniently located speed traps, with a sufficient supply of police officers to handle the “sudden and unexpected surge” in traffic violations………..

  • Anthony Perone

    Thirty years ago the New York Times did a survey on the behavior of people who lived in the ‘Upper East Side’ in New York. Analysis revealed that 80%.of residents were considered crertifiably neurotic while the remainder ranged from delusional to outright psychotic. The Times conclusions of this survey were quashed within a day(.It’s in the Times records….look it up). As well as the French tourist map at that time warning its travelers to keep within the ‘safe’ zones (ie midtown Manhattan) .
    The technology plan freaks are simply fulfilling the prophecies.

  • Drop Dead

    One more reason why I will never step foot again in your slime ball, over-priced, low-life city Bloomberg. I hope you all go bankrupt while you’re so busy decimating the constitution.

    • dumb people

      there’s a place in hell for you, hillbilly

      • Drop Dead

        Oh, yeah?

  • norman west

    one way to keep traffic moving is to have on all busy intersections squads of bums wiping your windows with kitchen grease……get out of my way !!!!!!!!!

  • Russ

    Another money pit.

  • JGage

    You know, they had this exact same technology when cars were first invented. They were called Traffic Cops. I guess paying 52 cops or ‘technicians’ to work each intersection might cost more, depends how many of these ‘watchers’ they hire on top of the over-all cost of the system. Still, I doubt pushing buttons to change the colors will speed things along, especially now we open it up to human error on two fronts. The light and the driver. Super.

    • Mj

      Ding! Was thinking the same. By the way… Check out the police in zurich center sometime… A little podium that is higher to see traffic. Very high tech and works amazingly.

    • ThePitts

      They had traffic cops when cars were first invented? Man, that was quick thinking.

  • ronnie from morris park

    Billionaireberg said the same thing about City Time. 600 million down the toilet later he still won’t give it up til now. Maybe if he’d stop putting in unused bike and mall for the homeless to sleep in traffic wouldn’t be so bad. Notice how against closing the roads in Central Park he is. Why,because it will cause traffic on his block and miss up his life.

  • leaningleft

    Janette Sadik Kahn should really move to Copenhagen and enjoy all the pedestrian zones, bicycles and free drugs.

  • Stan R

    Tolls on the East River bridges and congestion pricing is the only real answer to the midtown traffic problem. As this will probably never happen, New Yorkers can look forward to endless traffic jams forever. I lived in New York for over 50 years and where I am now if there are 10 cars on the road it is a lot.

  • Joe Doakes

    They want to make it so only the rich can drive. Enjoy your freedom while you still can. In a decade a TSA worker will be groping you when you go to pick up your kid at PS121.

  • Jeffrey Monheit

    The only thing I know is these surveillance cameras violate our 4th Amendment rights to be secure as people from unreasonable searches. All this surveillance according to the U.S. Constitution should be against the law. It’s a shame that our government is no longer one that has any regard for laws limiting what it can and cannot do.

    To put a stop to this Orwellian nightmare, please support Ron Paul and his run for President in 2012! Register Republican to vote for Ron Paul in the 2012 primary election.

  • Scott K. Smith

    I’m a 67 year old electrical engineer. I have thought for over 50 years that this was an excellent idea. Timed/synchronized traffic lights have been around for many years and work well to keep traffic moving at a steady pace. I have always been at a loss to figure out why traffic “engineers” couldn’t come up with a clue as to how they might control a traffic light so that it doesn’t stay red (against you) at some intersection when there is NO TRAFFIC moving on the green ! Most of the posters here seem so brain dead that they could never even START to understand this concept, but apparently someone in NYC has ! Good job guys !

    • x

      I’m a 67 year old electrical engineer, blah, blah, blah. We understand just fine and appreciate your alluding to the world you are smarter than most, but are no longer willing to pay for an elaborate, vulnerable high tech system that we cannot afford. Who is going to pay for the upkeep and inevitable ‘must have’ upgrades bureaucrats desire? Hmm, lemme guess, everybody else.

    • gt

      The problem with NYC is that there traffic everywhere – from all directions – all the time. Making it green longer for one way won’t do anything but make the wait long for the other way and mess it up another part of the city.

    • joe

      i’m 67 years old and and herp derp derp never read 1984 or anything on the topic of big brother even though i had my whole life to do it.

  • Chris

    EZ Pass readers really? That can only mean phase two of the plan is a $5-10 toll to enter midtown during the day al la london. Mark my words, they are going to use it as just another way to lift a few more dollars out of your pockets.

    I’m honestly suprised the air in NYC doesn’t have a toll on it. I will never live there.

    • Don

      Just put your transponder in a shielded bag to make it inactive. Those velcro fasteners work two ways.

  • General Quarters

    Or they could of refunded all the money they wasted to the tax payers and simply drove themselves or asked someone who did where the problems are. . .
    There is X demand for X resource at X time of the day – it is, what it is, simple as that, its either enough or its not, if you think you can manage that sitting on your duff watching it on TV your a fool.
    Want less traffic jams in the future? Vote four more years and there will be no jobs for anyone to commute too! Then gun up ’cause your going to be raided if anyone thinks you might have food.

  • infowars

    “The federal government is picking up more than a third of the $1.6 million price tag.”

    Nice to have such borrowed money to THROW AWAY. My God, I want out of here.

    • Joe


    • Fuzzy

      Move to Russia.

    • Michael H.

      I’ll help you pack your bags if you promise not to come back.

      • Infowars

        Would you be a dear and push in my stool?

  • Bill

    Why does the federal government have to pick up a third of the cost? Can’t New Yorkers pay for their own traffic system? This is the problem with the American economy.

  • Carlos Liriano

    another hairbrained scam by that bike lover Janette Sadik Kahn, sound more like another city time deal,God help New york

    • Don


  • Nick

    They want less congestion? Than stop sell those taxi medallions. Most of the congestion in Manhattan is caused by the massive amount of taxis on the road. Why should all those “environmentally friendly” NYers ride gas guzzling taxis anyway (BLOOMBERG)? NYC has an extensive subway and bus system. You two faced hypocrites.

    • Stephen

      Taxis reduce the total number of cars on the road by allowing a lot of people to share a single car. It’s an obvious efficiency enhancement. The MTA is sufficient most of the time but not 100% of the time.

  • Lou

    I see another City Time scandel in the works.

  • Harvey

    ok, ok: If traffic is at a standstill, what difference does it make if you change the light?

    • Bryan Ng

      If the standstill is caused by the light?

      • Fuzzy

        Don’t make Harvey think! You won’t like him when he’s thinking.

  • Gill

    “I could have sworn that I had the light?

    • White Fang

      Just burn the light.

      • Om

        Burning of the light will therefore only create more light…..

  • Fred

    Transportation commissioner Janette Sadik Kahn says when traffic is at a standstill, lights can be changed at the press of a button at the city’s Traffic Management Center.

    “I’ll show THEM who’s a NERD….” ‘CLICK’ (button pressed)….honk, honk, smash!
    Hey Ma.., look at me…I’m directin traffic! I told you they shouldda picked me as ‘Homecoming Queen’ ‘CLICK’ honk honk, smash!

    • Lo Rhent

      You get that right Fred!

    • chris

      I <3 this response.

    • Mark Matis

      You nailed it! And any bet the Masters get a special button in their limos to let their chauffeurs blow right on through?

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