Since the beginning of April, the City of Bellevue has implemented two new technology tools designed to make streets safer and more efficient at downtown intersections. This is intended to reduce deadly traffic accidents.
The projects are a part of the city’s Vision Zero effort to eliminate traffic deaths and serious-injury collisions on city streets by 2030. The movement is founded on the belief that deaths and serious injuries on city streets are unacceptable and preventable. In 2020, more than 38,600 people were killed in crashes on roadways in the United States, according to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration, so the potential for saving lives is high.
The first project expands the city’s use of leading pedestrian intervals – traffic signal timing that gives pedestrians a 5-second head start in crosswalks before vehicles get a green light to turn right or left. The extra time makes pedestrians more visible and decreases the likelihood of collisions.
The pilot project, which used video analytics to evaluate footage from intersection traffic cameras, showed a 42% reduction in vehicle-pedestrian close calls after pedestrian intervals were introduced. Bellevue began a gradual expansion of the intervals to 41 downtown intersections.
According to the City of Bellevue, city signal crews also installed new hardware at two downtown intersections that detects vehicles, pedestrians, and bicyclists. Cameras and pulsed laser imaging technology, combined with artificial intelligence, identify street users and can interface with the city’s adaptive traffic signals.
The city’s adaptive system uses inductive loops buried in the pavement to detect vehicles and bicycles, then adjusts signal timing accordingly. The new technology offers better detection of road users to increase safety and minimize traffic delays.
Source: Downtown Bellevue Network