If you travel any major intersections in Memphis or Shelby County, big brother is watching from the sixth floor of Memphis City Hall. And in this case, that’s a good thing.
The city just spent more than $30 million on a high-tech system that’s supposed to shorten your daily commute.
It’s no secret traffic can be a hassle for many Memphis drivers.
“There’s a whole lot of traffic out there. I’ll be late to work sometimes,” said Memphis driver Chris Branch.
“I just hate everybody knows the shortcuts and how to around it,” said Memphis driver Leroy Williams.
The City of Memphis has invested in some of the latest technology to help shave precious time off your commute by keeping a watchful eye on the roadways.
Since 2014, the city has laid 120 miles of fiber optic cable as part of the “Coordinated Signal System Project.” It connects Memphis traffic lights to a network monitored by the city on a series of closed circuit TV’s and computerized traffic maps.
More than 400 intersections, more than half of all signalized intersections in Memphis, are communicating with each other.
They’re helping to reduce delays and the number of stops drivers make on busy streets, like Lamar, Poplar, Airways and Germantown Parkway.
City engineers can even use the system to adjust the timing on traffic lights, which can make a huge difference when there’s a bad crash or a big event.
The system is so sophisticated it tracks your speed, which lane you’re in, even what kind of car you drive all in real time, all coming from any device in your car that emits a Bluetooth signal.
The city has already reduced drive times during rush hour in some hot spots, shaving nearly four minutes off the commute on Walnut Grove between Highland and White Station.
Poplar between East Parkway and Yates, you’ll save an average of two minutes.
Drivers will save about one minute and 45 seconds on Lamar between American Way and Shelby Drive, and on Germantown Parkway between Wolf River and I-40, you’ll save a minute and a half.
Over the next few months, drivers will see more than two dozen cameras pop up on the streets of Memphis.
But city leaders have an eye on expansion. A partnership with TDOT would give the city access to 125 interstate cameras, all those message boards, and one popular driving app.
“We have a new partnership with Waze. And with that means we work with the City of Memphis and the surrounding communities to make sure the best information regarding incidents and hazards for the roads, that that information is accurate and available to the public,” said TDOT spokesperson Nichole Lawrence.
The “Waze” app is free and updates in real time with user-driven information.
As advanced as this all sounds, it’s just the beginning for the program. As technology advances and expands and more cameras are added, you can look forward to a much smoother commute.