Installation underway for Tempe's new traffic sensors

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The City of Tempe is installing sensors so they can track traffic better. (Source: 3TV/CBS 5) The City of Tempe is installing sensors so they can track traffic better. (Source: 3TV/CBS 5)
71 of the ARID, or Anonymous Re-Identification sensors, will be installed at major intersections around the city. (Source: 3TV/CBS 5) 71 of the ARID, or Anonymous Re-Identification sensors, will be installed at major intersections around the city. (Source: 3TV/CBS 5)
Initially, the information collected may help cut down on driver's commutes because the city will be able to pinpoint potential problem spots. (Source: 3TV/CBS 5) Initially, the information collected may help cut down on driver's commutes because the city will be able to pinpoint potential problem spots. (Source: 3TV/CBS 5)
TEMPE, AZ (3TV/CBS 5) -

The City of Tempe is in the process of installing new traffic sensors that they say will help improve their overall transportation system.

They're called ARID sensors, which stands for Anonymous Re-identification. Tempe is installing 71 of the small devices at major intersections across the city.

"These sensors pick up vehicles that are passing, the Bluetooth and Wi-Fi signals and it's anonymous so we don't track vehicles," said Tempe Traffic Engineer Julian Dresang.

Once they get that data, city traffic engineers will use it see how traffic is flowing.

"We are not tracking individual drivers. The information we're getting simply tells us that a vehicle has passed point A and point B. It doesn't tell us what that vehicle is or who is driving that vehicle," Dresang said.

[READ MORE: New traffic sensors set to pick up Wi-Fi, Bluetooth signals at Tempe intersections]

We're told the benefits to the public are two-fold.

Initially, the information collected may help cut down on driver's commutes because the city will be able to pinpoint potential problem spots.

"Maybe in the p.m. peak where we're having backup and then we can use that information to change the signal timing to better accommodate vehicles and have less delay," said Dresang.

Eventually, Tempe will pool its resources with their East Valley neighbors including Mesa and Gilbert who also have ARID sensors to create a real-time, regional traffic map.

"Traffic doesn't just end at jurisdictional boundaries," Dresang said. "The better we can work with our neighboring communities to provide seamless transportation through there is beneficial to everybody." 

First, though, they have to get all 71 of the sensors in place. Installation should be wrapped up on Friday.

For those who find the idea of their cell phones Bluetooth or Wi-Fi signals being tracked unappealing, there is a simple way to avoid it.

"If a driver is concerned about privacy issues, they can turn off on their cellular devices Bluetooth and Wi-Fi and there would be no tracking mechanism. But it is completely anonymous," said Dresang.

Copyright 2017 KPHO/KTVK (KPHO Broadcasting Corporation). All rights reserved.


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