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Detroit unveils its smartest intersection

Using the foundational technology, the intersections are able to sense and understand what’s happening on the roadway in real-time

Have Detroit and Miovision created the world's smartest intersection?
Have Detroit and Miovision created the world's smartest intersection?

Detroit city has unveiled what is claimed to be the ‘world’s smartest intersection’ to help improve public safety and make it easier for the city to manage and optimise traffic flow.


The system of sensors, video-based detection, connected traffic signals and remote monitoring capabilities, provided by traffic systems technology company Miovision, has been deployed across five intersections along a busy corridor in the heart of Detroit.


With a focus on safety, the smart intersection generates data that pinpoints areas where traffic-related fatalities and injuries can be reduced. Cities can use this type of data to advance their vision zero goals to eliminate deaths and serious injuries involving road traffic, said Miovision.


“This corridor is a great example of how cities can leverage existing infrastructure to build innovative solutions that immediately benefit people,” said Mark de la Vergne, chief of mobility innovation, Detroit.


“We started with the goal of improving how we monitor our traffic signals, and now we’re working with Miovision to explore how to improve safety for pedestrians and help first responders get to emergencies more quickly.”


The technology behind the smart intersection is a combination of hardware and software based on open architecture and artificial intelligence.


Using this foundational technology, the intersections are able to sense and understand what’s happening on the roadways in real time and trigger responses, such as:

  • Traffic lights that can extend green lights to accommodate cyclists who wouldn’t otherwise be able to make it through the intersection
  • Alerts that warn drivers of connected cars or Waze users that jaywalkers are ahead
  • Traffic lights that provide priority access to emergency vehicles
  • Intersections that understand and analyse the near misses between users of the roads such as pedestrians, cyclists and drivers
  • Traffic lights that allow for freight vehicles to have green light priority, encouraging freight use on certain intersections away from pedestrian-heavy corridors.

The intersection leverages smart traffic technology from Miovision that has already been deployed in over 40 per cent of the intersections in Detroit. Miovision worked closely with Sunny Jacob, head of the traffic operations department in the city, as it was developing the technology.


While it was initially deployed to help the traffic operations team remotely monitor and manage intersections, the technology is now being used by the entire city to analyse and improve the performance of intersections.


“Detroit now has the capability to leapfrog other cities,” added Dave Bullock, vice president of market strategy at Miovision. “[The city has] gone from not knowing what was happening at intersections to having access to some of the world’s most innovative intersection technology. The sky’s the limit for how far [it] can go in using that technology to become one of the smartest cities in the world.”


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