The Ministry of Public Works started upgrading traffic signals throughout New Providence with the aim of reducing traffic congestion across the island.
With over 50 percent of traffic signals not up to current industry standards, Minister of Public Works Desmond Bannister emphasized the importance of this initiative.
“It is our intention to reduce the travel time and increase the safety of motorists across the island. The current traffic signal network in Nassau has about 40 signals that are over 30 years old. The equipment no longer meet industry standard and are outdated,” Bannister said.
“It is imperative that the old equipment be replaced with upgraded equipment to produce the proper level of service that will meet the traffic flow demand.”
Senior Transportation Engineer Joy John said the new traffic signals are made of a strong, non-corrosive material, which is able to withstand the elements, and that they are equipped with durable energy-efficient LED light bulbs that have a long lifespan. John noted, “Traffic signal improvements is one of the most cost-effective energy conservation strategies in places like Nassau. One should be aware that an idling engine not only wastes fuel, but also emits pollutants into the air.
“It is our intention to improve safety and reduce the travel time for the motoring public across all signalized intersections in Nassau. Our first approach is to upgrade all the outdated and old equipment and secondly, introduce a traffic management center that will help reduce the travel time, safety at these intersections.”
The benefits of the traffic signal upgrades include: enhancing the safety of the public and reducing traffic-related accidents, reducing traffic signal malfunctions during unforeseen weather conditions and meeting the current structural and wind-load standards.
The benefits of the traffic management center are that maintenance officers will be able to monitor the operation of the traffic signals on computers in the center and also receive information on malfunctioning signals through their smart phones.
Once all the traffic signals have been changed out, the next step in the program will be to install cameras at critical intersections, so that officers in the center can remotely change traffic signal timing based on real-time information received through the video stream. For example, if it is noted that one leg of the intersection has a backup of traffic, the officers will be able to temporarily lengthen the green signal on that leg to assist in clearing the backlog.