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Electronic Traffic Signs Hit Downtown Streets

Photo by KUT News
Similar to those found on freeways, Austin's Dynamic Message Signs will provide drivers with current traffic information.

Ever wish you could know about a major traffic jam before you get stuck in one? The City of Austin's Transportation Department hopes it can help you do that by installing 13 electronic signs around the city.

By March of next year, drivers passing by these intersections will be informed of real-time traffic jams, construction, weather conditions, special events, as well as detour routes.

"One of the challenges with downtown Austin is that we are at capacity," Transportation Department spokesperson Leah Fillion said.

"Our roadways can only grow so large. The numerous special events each year, such as SXSW and ACL, bring even more people downtown," she said. "What the Dynamic Message Signs will do is let people know what to expect ahead of time so they can make smarter choices, and consequently spread traffic and ease congestion."

It's just one feature included in the Advanced Traffic Management System (ATMS), a technology-rich traffic system that will use speed sensors and cameras to provide data to city traffic engineers.

City Council approved a five year contract to implement ATMS earlier this summer after receiving about $1 million in federal stimulus money

Here's a map showing the eventual location of the signs:

View Dynamic Message Sign Locations in a larger map

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