Smart sign monitors Superior traffic troubleThe Superior Police Department has a new tool in its arsenal to address traffic problems.
By: Shelley Nelson, Superior Telegram
The Superior Police Department has a new tool in its arsenal to address traffic problems.
What appears to be an innocuous sign that notes a driver’s speed is actually a data collection device that allows police to understand the nature of traffic problems in the city.
As it gathers information on the speed drivers are traveling at, it can also determine traffic volume, minimum and maximum speeds recorded, pinpoint times when traffic problems occur and the average number of violations that occur on the street where it is place. It can also capture images of the worst offenders. It even records its own effectiveness in slowing traffic to the speed limit.
Police won’t be issuing tickets based on the sign or images it capture — that’s not allowed under the law in Wisconsin — but it will help police target traffic enforcement efforts, said Superior Police Chief Charles LaGesse.
The sign, created by All Traffic Solutions, allows police to program it. Data generated by traffic is sent to a cloud-based system that allows police to analyze traffic issues, according to the company.
The police department bought the sign with leftover Capital Improvement program funds after the police department’s radio project to replace mobile and portable radios came in under budget.
“We’re able on an hourly or daily basis to monitor a location for traffic volume, for traffic speed, for specific times that are the highest offense areas,” LaGesse said. “This sign gives us the ability to monitor that condition and target our enforcement efforts toward areas that are having a problem with speed.”
But the sign can also be programmed to display messages, such as when a road is out or police want to warn motorists of high pedestrian volume for events such as the annual dragon boat races and the fair.
“We can put into that sign whatever we chose to do,” LaGesse said. “When we do that, it’s still monitoring ... the numbers and speed of vehicles crossing through its radar.”
One of the features of the sign is that it can take photos when a vehicle is traveling at high speed in an area, LaGesse said. That can help police identify specific vehicles that may be traveling through an area routinely at a high speed for the neighborhood. He said that allows police to focus their efforts on a specific area when those violators — or any violator — could be caught.
“We cannot write tickets based on the photo radar,” LaGesse said.
Just like any crime or disorder in a neighborhood, LaGesse said he encourages the public to contact the police department if they do have a traffic problem in their neighborhood so police can monitor the situation.
People can call the police department’s traffic bureau at 715-395-7435, email email@example.com or post the problem on the SuperiorPD Facebook site.