(January 17, 2018) The City of Frisco receives a statewide award for its innovative approaches to alleviating traffic congestion and improving safety. The Texas Chapter of the Intelligent Transportation Society of America (ITS America) recently honored Frisco for developing and implementing:
- ‘Closest To’ dispatch system
- Incident management performance measures
- ‘Real-time’ traffic signal data sharing
- WAZE Connected Citizen Program
“It’s an honor to be recognized by our peers for incorporating technologies into traffic solutions,” said Paul Knippel, P.E. and Director of Engineering Services. “This award helps us send a signal to our residents, businesses and visitors that Frisco’s efforts are headed in the right direction.”
‘Closest To’ dispatch system
The City of Frisco is already experiencing about a 20% reduction in police and fire response times for top priority calls – just one month after launching its ‘Closest To’ dispatch system last November. Frisco police report the average response time for Priority 1 calls for service was five minutes and 43 seconds from January – November 2017. In December, average response times for Priority 1 calls improved to four minutes and 40 seconds. December marked the first full month of ‘Closest To’ in operation.
‘Closest To’ dispatch integrates Global Positioning System (GPS) and Geographic Information System (GIS) data with the city’s public safety dispatch system to automatically choose the best, ‘closest’ resources available for high priority calls.
Incident Management Performance Measures
Frisco collects traffic incident, time related data with the goals of reducing congestion and improving safety. Dispatchers note the time crashes are initially reported and ‘cleared’. They also consider first responder arrival times. Traffic engineers determine when traffic flow returns to ‘normal’. Minimizing the duration of an incident reduces congestion, improves motorist safety and reduces risk of first responders being injured in the roadway. It also reduces the likelihood of a secondary crash. Staff has been collecting data since September 2017.
“Statistics show for every minute a road is blocked, approximately four minutes of congestion results,” said Brian Moen, Assistant Director of Engineering Services/Transportation.
Real-time traffic signal data sharing
Frisco is first city in Texas -- the second city in the U.S. -- to give the ‘green light’ to technologies allowing traffic signals to ‘talk’ to vehicles. As of last June, 122 traffic signals are streaming real-time data to Traffic Technology Services (TTS), which uses the information to predict when signals change from red to green. At this time, TTS is sharing the signal data with Audi drivers who view a ‘heads up’ display inside certain models. Other auto makers are expected to join the program soon.
Waze Connected Citizen Program
Frisco is part of the Waze Connected Citizens Program. Frisco event road closures and major accidents will soon be automatically posted into the Waze ‘App’ for public convenience.
“These technologies were designed to make a difference,” said Moen. “We’re honored to be recognized as a leader in innovative traffic solutions designed to improve safety and traffic flow which are both important to the public. Traffic engineering is changing as new technologies emerge. More than ever, we need to collaborate to be successful at traffic management. We’re grateful for the efforts of our colleagues in dispatch, police, fire and IT. These innovations are a team effort.”
“Traffic is a high priority for our city council,” said Mayor Jeff Cheney. “We proud of our departments and their collective efforts to keep us moving safely. Our staff is always looking for ways to improve the drivers’ experience through our city. We’re honored to be recognized as a leader in traffic innovation.”
The North Central Texas Council of Governments (NCTCOG) awarded Frisco three grants totaling about $380,000 to help support the initiatives. Frisco’s success at data sharing enabled NCTCOG to establish a grant program to support other communities sharing data to improve mobility throughout the region.