If you are a contractor working on infrastructure construction projects in large cities such as New York, you will likely need to incorporate sophisticated traffic-management systems that include integration of RFID (radio frequency identification) and sensors during construction.

Last week, Mayor Michael Bloomberg, New York City Transportation Commissioner Janette Sadik-Khan, and Victor Mendez, administrator, Federal Highway Admin., announced the Midtown in Motion program. This program launches one of the most advanced traffic-management systems in the country, which will serve as a model for other cities deploying intelligent transportation systems.

According to the release, many traffic management systems use pre-programmed signal patterns for different times of day. With this traffic-management system, data is gathered from field sensors, RFID readers, and cameras, which is then sent to the TransSuite traffic-management software from TransCore, www.transcore.com, Hummelstown, Pa.

The equipment uses the NYCWiN (New York City Wireless Network). Currently traffic data is captured by the TransCore RFID readers and other sensors and is transmitted via NYCWiN to the traffic-management center.

This view of traffic conditions allows engineers to immediately address factors that contribute to traffic backups caused by congestion, construction, special events, or accidents. The traffic-management center can then actively manage traffic and adapt the timing at each intersection to address realtime traffic conditions and alleviate congestion.

Approximately 50% of the signals in the city currently have been converted to this system. The city plans to complete the integration of all 12,400 signals by 2013. In addition, the city will install 53 new turn lanes and 23 new turn signals to enable vehicles to turn from cross-town streets onto avenues without blocking an entire lane of through-traffic.

Cities across the country can look to New York as an example of how to use technology to improve traffic congestion. For the construction industry, this will mean integrating more technology during construction of road and traffic signals.