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Arizona transportation department aims to change driving habits with new technology

(Bruce Chambers/Orange County Register via AP, File)

PHOENIX — An Arizona transportation department is aiming to change normal driving habits and reduce the amount of vehicular traffic in the Valley without widening or expanding freeways, according to the Arizona Business Journal.

The Arizona Department of Transportation is aiming to increase freeway traffic capacity by 15 percent by using technology to track and alert drivers of suggested speeds to travel. Experts hope this method could cut down or eliminate stop-and-start driving, which is so commonly seen in rush hour traffic.

Arizona Department of Transportation Director John Halikowski said the department estimated this method could cut down on traffic significantly.

“If we tell drivers to slow to a specific speed ahead of traffic slow downs, it will keep traffic moving smoothly and cut down on accidents,” he said in an interview with the Phoenix Business Journal. “We’re aware that if people drove more efficiently, we could increase freeway capacity by 15 percent and reduce commute times.”

Halikowski said drivers tend to travel in “pockets” of traffic and will often speed from one pocket to the next, not eliminating any traffic flow.

Arizona Department of Transportation officials have already begun putting prototype systems in place to track and control traffic speeds.

“We’re setting up a prototype program on I-17 around McDowell (Road in Phoenix),” Halikowski said in an interview with the Phoenix Business Journal. “We can use our technology to control speeds on the freeway to let traffic move safely.”

Arizona is well-known for its poor driving habits; The state was ranked No. 6 in the nation for worst drivers, according to a study released by CarInsuranceComparison.com.

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