Posted at: 09/12/2012 5:55 PM
| Updated at: 09/13/2012 1:26 PM
By: Beth Wurtmann
COLONIE - As Raven Larbour prepared to cross Wolf Road, we asked her what she thinks those shiny black dots are, right on the street.
"Someone pointed them out to me and I'm like 'oh.' I don't even know what they're there for," she exclaimed.
They just went in this week. Underneath the black dots, are wireless sensors, manufactured by a California company, installed by the State Department of Transportation to see if the new system made could improve traffic flow.
"The sensors will help with another system adapt to the times of the signal so they will change quicker and be more responsible to the current conditions," said Ed Davis, with Sensys Networks, the manufacturer.
The sensors are nicknamed 'hockey pucks,' because of the resemblance. They gather information as each car passes by, about traffic volume and speed; transmitting it to receivers that will work with traffic lights to change on the fly, so you won't have to wait or get stuck in a jam.
"We send a signal back to the cabinet the cabinet will take that along with the side street all the other detection and will determine what the best cycle length will be so it will adjust the timing of the signal based on the timing of the demand," Davis said.
That's different from the current signal timing system, which crews here say changes at the same time throughout the day, regardless of how the heavy traffic is.
Larbour hoped that what's under the shiny black dots will eases the traffic crunch on Wolf Road, and make it less congested to simply cross the street.
"I think that's pretty cool, with technology these days, it's pretty awesome," she said.
crews plan to install the rest of the sensors this weekend.
The new traffic flow system is supposed to save money on installation and maintenance.
The Transportation Department isn't saying yet how much it's costing taxpayers, or how much time the system could save drivers on wolf road.
We will keep asking.