Traffic lights around the state, including those in Coweta County and Newnan, will be getting computer software upgrades that will make the signals easier to monitor and adjust.
The Georgia Department of Transportation is paying for the “MaxTime” software for all eight of the traffic signals that Coweta County operates. The software is also in signals that GDOT operates on state highways, and the city of Newnan will be receiving the new software as well.
The software technology currently in the county’s signal control cabinets is at least 30 years old, said Public Works Director Tod Handley. “It’s a little bit cumbersome to use,” he said. GDOT will install the new software and provide a cellular data connection at each signal cabinet, he said.
With the new software and the data connection, GDOT, the county and city would be able to better monitor how well signals are functioning. The software will also provide detailed traffic data.
According to agenda materials, the MaxTime controller system and MaxView central system can collect high-resolution data, a snapshot of everything happening at the signal every tenth of a second.
A “frequently asked questions” document provided on the change states that “when this huge amount of data is processed, we can learn a lot about how the signal is operating and there may be a need to review timing plans or troubleshoot equipment."
The software can also provide an alert if a traffic signal isn’t operating correctly.
The FAQ states that “the software itself does not automatically improve signal timing so the conversion will not affect how your system is operating; but the software is more user friendly than a lot of previous software, easier to learn and can help you determine where adjustments need to be made in order to improve the operation of your system."
GODT has contracted with a consultant team to do the conversion work. The consultants will also train the county staff on the new software, and come back later to do more training or answer questions.
“GDOT will continue to support you with this conversion,” the FAQ reads. “The intent is to leave you with a system that you can use, not to make things more complicated for you."
The conversion will come at no cost to the county.
The signals that the county maintains are Shenandoah Boulevard at Lower Fayetteville Road, Fischer Road at Raymond Hill Road, Poplar Road at the Newnan Bypass, Poplar Road at Piedmont Newnan Hospital, Poplar Road at Mary Freeman, Lower Fayetteville at Mary Freeman, Lower Fayetteville at Sullivan and Lower Fayetteville at Lora Smith.
The city of Newnan is currently upgrading signals at East Broad Street and Farmer Street and Roscoe Road at Sherwood Drive to include video detection, said Michael Klahr, Newnan’s public works director.
The city is also doing new studies on older signals, and those that are found to be not warranted are being removed. The signal at East Washington Street and Murray Street is in flash mode and will be removed, Klahr said, and signals at Farmer Street and Glenn Street and Salbide Avenue and Thompson Street have already been removed.
GDOT began rolling out the new software systems in 2016. According to a press release issued in August 2016, the switch to the new software means traffic engineers will no longer have to rely on citizen complaints or on-site checking of signals. Instead, the system allows for the signals to automatically provide feedback to a central system in the traffic operations center in real time.