Wrong-Way Detection System Wins Award

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The Arizona Department of Transportation’s wrong-way driver detection system is now considered award winning. The system, which was installed along a 15-mile stretch of Interstate 17 in Phoenix, is the first of its kind in the U.S.

Wrong-Way Detection System Wins Award

As part of its pilot program, ADOT installed a network of 90 thermal cameras designed to alert ADOT and the Arizona Department of Public Safety the moment one of those cameras detects a wrong-way driver. This early warning then allows those agencies to use electronic freeway signs to advise the public who might be in harm’s way.

ADOT’s system received a Government Innovation Award in its public sector innovations category.

“Much of the machine learning and advanced analytics powering the data-driven economy are made possible by government-funded research,” explains Government Innovation Awards. “And agencies themselves are being transformed by new technologies and innovative ways of weaving IT into critical missions.

“Public-sector tech, in other words, is far cooler than the government often gets credit for. These awards aim to give these innovators the credit they deserve.”

“Arizona has taken meaningful steps to crack down on wrong-way driving, and we are proud to lead the way among states for developing and testing measures that make our roads safer and protect innocent drivers,”said  Gov. Doug Ducey when the program was first launched.

The thermal cameras used have detected more than 30 wrong-way vehicles.

While the pilot program has been helpful, it cannot completely prevent wrong-way accidents. The system alarms drivers in harm’s way, but those drivers must still be cautious and aware of their surroundings.  The majority of wrong-way crashes involved an impaired driver, another thing that the system cannot fully prevent.

Gov. Ducey is also in the process of championing a law that holds wrong-way drivers under the influence accountable with felony charges.

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