TRAFFIC SIGNALS: Sunnyvale, Calif., benefits from $250K Google donation

March 31, 2016

New advanced traffic management system will aid the city in improving traffic flow in real time

Sunnyvale's traffic lights will receive a software update thanks in part to Google. Traffic lights around the city of Sunnyvale, Calif., will be installed with new advanced traffic management central software, as a result of Google’s donation of $250,000 to help fund the project.

The city recently completed a test pilot of the new advanced traffic management software in question, known as MaxView, on four closely spaced intersections at the S.R. 237 and Mathilda Avenue interchange, an area notorious for traffic delays and bottlenecks. The city was contacted by Google officials when company employees noticed a difference in the flow of traffic in the pilot area.

"When we did a pilot project Google contacted us because they wanted to know what we were doing. They did their own independent analysis and determined that we reduced critical movements [in the area] by 50%," said director of public works Manuela Pineda during a presentation to the planning commission. "It was a pilot and we didn't have funding for it. We were going to remove the software and equipment. They were disappointed at that and wanted to see what they could do, so they came up with half the funding and we came up with half."

It will take up to 18 months to convert the traffic signals over to the new software. In February, the city awarded a $518,577 contract to Control Tech West of Temecula to install the software. The city will accept Google's donation of $250,000 and pay for the remaining $320,435 for the project from traffic impact fees that have been collected.

MaxView will allow the city monitor traffic in real time, assign signal green light timing depending on demand and improve the flow of traffic.

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