Moscow’s smart traffic lights to bring drivers up to speed

City Hall says it will start trialing an intelligent traffic-flow control system before the end of 2011.

Sixty-three “smart” traffic lights will be rolled out in a bid to ease Moscow’s congestion woes. The new lights are able to monitor car numbers and speeds and adapt their activity accordingly.

If the experiment is a success, smart traffic lights will replace old ones across the capital.

City Hall announced it was creating an intelligent transport system over the next five years in May.

Apart from the new traffic lights, it will include electronic information boards. These will display information about traffic jams, diversions and approaching government motorcades.

The project will cost Moscow around a billion dollars.

The wide-ranging anti-congestion program is the brainchild of Moscow’s new mayor Sergey Sobyanin. The general idea behind the program is to encourage Muscovites to swap private cars for public transport.

In order to do so, the city is planning to set up 40 separate bus and trolley-bus lines and to build another six bus terminals. The number of official taxis will increase to around 20,000 cars.

The program also includes construction of 1.4 million new parking spaces, which are expected to cater for 80 per cent of all private transport in the Russian capital. There will also be parking lots for 10,000 bicycles.

More than 438 kilometers of new roads will be built and another 19.5 km re-constructed by 2016. In order to boost control of the city’s transport, there will be 850 CCTV cameras installed around the busiest roads.

The Moscow Railways inner orbital ring, currently used for cargo transport, will carry passenger trains. City Hall will build 30 stations around the line, turning them into fully fledged transport hubs uniting parking lots, metro stations, bus stops and other means of transport.

City Hall also plans to build 85 kilometers of new metro lines and to launch a system of river taxis: the authorities hope that 11 million people will use the new means of transport.

The authorities believe these measures will increase mobility in the city by 17 per cent in five years.

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