What happens throughout the site using the sensors (Photo: MCDOT)
The shortest distance between two points may be under construction when it comes to Valley roads, but Maricopa County officials are betting that new technologies can help motorists negotiate roadwork more quickly.
The technology is known as Smarter Work Zone and uses wireless sensors to gather information about work-zone conditions to alert drivers about potential delays through digital signs, according to the Maricopa County Department of Transportation.
The Smarter Work Zone technology is currently in place at MC 85 from 95th to 75th avenues, where the average daily traffic is 20,000 cars, said Rainey Holloway, MCDOT spokeswoman.
The county is one of the first in the nation to use the technology on heavily traveled city/urban roadways known as "arterial" roadways, the release said.
The Maricopa County Department of Transportation prioritizes safety, "we want drivers on county roads to be safe and another very important aspect of this is the safety of people working within a work zone or construction site," Holloway said.
The goal is to use smart technology to protect those working on roadways. Last year 799 fatalities were recorded in work zones across the country, and 132 of those were roadside workers, the release stated.
Wireless sensors will gather the information about work zone conditions, that information will be processed by a computer system which calculates travel times and can warn drivers about potential delays through digital signs.
This will allow drivers to avoid the delay by choosing another route and will reduce the number of vehicles going through work zones.
The technology also will help on high-pollution days because of less idling, which leads to fewer emissions, county officials said.
Breaking News Intern Molly Hudson can be reached at Molly.Hudson@arizonarepublic.com and follow her on twitter @AsuMollyh