A $3.8 million project to reconstruct May Avenue between NW 36 Street and Britton Road will include installation of a new traffic management system at NW 63 and May.
The system detects cars and trucks and controls signals to keep traffic flowing smoothly.
Oklahoma City's traffic engineer, Stuart Chai, fielded questions about how the system will work. Questions and answers were edited.
Q: What is the Wavetronix system and what does it do?
A: Wavetronix is a radar-type traffic detector being used in place of inductive loops cut into the roadway. Radar-type detectors have been around for a number of years, but this is the first one produced by this manufacturer that the city will be field testing. To learn more, here's the company website: wavetronix.com/en.
Q: How will it improve traffic at NW 63 and May?
A: The Wavetronix radar traffic detector is not invasive in the same way traditional loop detectors can be. Loops are literally wires that are laid in slots cut into the road surface and then sealed. Radar detection achieves this same function but without the necessity to cut anything into the roadway. An advantage of “above-the-road” detection is that it is not subject to damage whenever the roadway surface is disturbed, such as when a street is being milled and resurfaced or a portion of the road is being removed for maintenance or utility work.
Q: Does it have other uses, such as catching cars running red lights and issuing tickets? Those sorts of “virtual cop” video systems have been controversial.
A: Traffic law enforcement is not a function of this vehicle detection system. State law does not allow for the use of such technologies. It is, however, advertised as being able to collect traffic data of a variety of types.
Wavetronix says its systems improve safety, reduce maintenance costs and enable traffic engineers to collect information on traffic volume, speeds and other data.
William Crum, Staff Writer