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21st Century Operations Using 21st Century Technologies

Citywide Congestion Management Plan (CCMP) by New York City Department of Transportation (NYCDOT)

1. Project Introduction

As part of the Citywide Congestion Management Plan (CCMP), New York City Department of Transportation (NYCDOT) requests $6,160,000 in Advanced Transportation and Congestion Management Technologies Deployment Initiative (ATCMTD) funds to develop and deploy technologies to reduce congestion in the five boroughs of NYC. Specifically, the project includes the following congestion mitigating technologies: launching Transit Signal Priority (TSP) on key bus routes, encouraging off hour deliveries (OHD) for trucks by employing noise-mitigating solutions on congested corridors citywide and installing High Occupancy Vehicle (HOV) cameras on East River bridges. To evaluate project success, goals include expansion of innovative data sets; analysis to evaluate the performance of our transportation network including crosswalks, bus and bike lanes; and implementation of systems to efficiently plan and operate streets and bridges to reduce costs, delay and crashes. Benefits include ability to monitor speeds, bus travel times, and bottlenecks, as well as origin and destination information for more efficient routing. Increasing reliability for bus service, shifting truck deliveries to improve traffic flow and promoting more efficient travel options will help NYCDOT efficiently and safely plan and operate its streets.

New York City is reaching record highs in the number of residents, jobs, and tourists, and these growth trends have clear impacts on the City's transportation network. In 2015, the City was home to more than 8.5 million residents and hosted 58.3 million tourists. Providing transportation options to efficiently and safely move millions of people every day presents significant challenges, which are exacerbated by congestion and the continued growth of commercial and home deliveries across the city. As the City attracts more visitors, workers, and residents, sidewalks and crosswalks are busier than ever and with more construction there is an increase in lane closures, impacting traffic flow. Speeds in the City, particularly Midtown Manhattan are slower, yet fewer cars overall are entering the core (Figures 1-2).

Taxi GPS TPEP Data - Average Manhattan CBD Travel Speed

Figure 1

Motor Vehicles Entering the CBD

Figure 2

The City’s growth is straining our transportation system as never before. Up until now, New York City has largely been able to meet the travel demand generated by this growth with existing subway capacity and increased walking and biking. Between 2010 and 2016, citywide subway ridership increased 22 percent to 1.76 billion. Ridership is now 78 percent higher than during the system’s nadir of 991 million riders in 1982. The number of frequent bike riders has risen 54 percent to 778,000 in the last five years, and pedestrian activity has increased dramatically. To support these shifts, the city has significantly expanded bus, bike and pedestrian facilities, and has done so in most cases without reducing overall vehicle throughput.

But overall, DOT believes that the City’s extraordinary growth is likely the dominant factor leading to congestion and dropping traffic and bus speeds on the streets (Figure 3).

NYCT Bus Speeds Weekdays 4pm - 6pm. Speed (mph) - Red (0.00 - 2.00), Orange (2.01 - 4.00), Yellow (4.01 - 6.00), Light Green (6.01 - 8.00), Medium Green (6.01 - 8.00), Dark Green (10.00+).  Most red and orange are in central Manhattan.

Figure 3

As a national leader in the use of data to monitor, manage, and evaluate multimodal transportation networks, NYCDOT is uniquely prepared to leverage ATCMTD funds to build on a long history of innovative data collection and analysis and use those tools to reduce congestion for all modes throughout NYC. NYCDOT has been collecting annual key screenlines since 1948, and has continuously sought to improve and expand both the data collected and the use of this data to plan for mobility improvements citywide. Midtown In Motion (MIM), NYCDOT’s monitoring system for the central business district, helps the City evaluate traffic flow on key corridors in Midtown Manhattan, and NYCDOT’s partnership with the New York City Police Department and New York State Department of Transportation on the Joint Traffic Management Center use cameras and speed detection equipment to monitor traffic conditions in real time.

CCMP will build upon these efforts and purchase a new complete data set, to enable NYCDOT’s Traffic Operations and Transportation Planning and Management divisions to support improved operations management and monitoring, evaluation, and planning efforts as well as inform the agency on how to best deploy congestion mitigation measures, including TSP, OHD and HOV. The new real-time and historical data allows NYCDOT to analyze complete travel paths, traveler attributes, origin-destination information, vehicle type, relative volume, travel times, trip length, speeds, delay costs, roadway and traffic event information, and planning time and buffer time metrics. This data will enable NYCDOT to utilize a rich dataset with the widest coverage available, arming the agency to improve the performance of the entire transportation network. This data will equip NYCDOT to plan safety projects and initiatives to monitor and improve the City’s transportation network to alleviate congestion and reduce the number and severity of crashes for all modes throughout the City.

CCMP will focus on the following technologies to monitor and address congestion: Transit Signal Priority Technology

TSP allows for improved reliability and performance on key corridors throughout NYC and encourages transit use, which reduces congestion. Smart traffic signals can detect when a bus is approaching, and adjust timing so the bus is more likely to encounter a green light. As a bus gets close to an intersection, it sends a wireless signal that is transmitted to the traffic signal controller, either directly or through a centralized TSP server. The controller then has the ability to maintain a green light longer for a bus to make it through the intersection, or to turn a red light green sooner if a bus is stopped at the red. Controls are put in place to make sure that the light never changes before pedestrians have enough time to safely cross, and that overall traffic flow is maintained (Figure 4). TSP makes small changes at each individual intersection, but over the course of a corridor bus speed and reliability can significantly improve. TSP has been implemented at approximately 370 intersections (about 3 percent of total signalized intersections) on seven routes in NYC and has reduced travel times by five to 20 percent.

Architecture Overview.  Image of Workstation for Remote Access (Reports, Status).  TMC TSP Server and Traffic Control System have arrows pointing to NYCWIN (Traffic Controller). Server has to/from line to Transit Systems.  The Transit System have a two way line to NYCWin GPS (image of Bus).

Figure 4

Off Hour Delivery Technology

Another component of CCMP includes reducing peak hour deliveries in the most congested parts of NYC, specifically Midtown Manhattan. NYCDOT will identify and deploy low noise transportation technology and unassisted delivery technology to facilitate and encourage more off hour deliveries in our dense, urban environment. This initiative is supported by the Mayor's OneNYC Plan 2015 and NYCDOT's Strategic Plan 2016. Noise related to transportation and delivery processes is a barrier to implementing more off hour deliveries due to resident concerns associated with noise mitigation. Low noise engines, quiet refrigeration systems, quiet cargo handling equipment and other truck accessories are some of the strategies that can be implemented to reduce noise impacts. Staffing costs for receivers can also present challenges for businesses interested in implementing OHD. The use of electronic doormen, virtual delivery cages, and other security technologies can support unassisted deliveries. These technologies will incentivize the adoption of OHD by shippers and receivers.

HOV Lane Occupancy Verification Technology

Beyond addressing bus and truck congestion, NYCDOT is preparing to integrate a quarter of a million displaced daily transit riders into surface transportation. The Canarsie Tunnel, which carries the L subway line under the East River between Brooklyn and Manhattan will be closed to repair Superstorm Sandy-related damage starting in 2019, requiring 225,000 daily subway commuters to find other travel options (Figure 5). Travel on this corridor, between Brooklyn and Manhattan is limited to the ferry, three bridges and one tunnel. Some of these commuters will shift to other subway options that have also experienced increases in ridership, but there is no parallel transit route to the L train, leaving commuters with less efficient daily travel options.

Image of L subway service. Showing no service between 8 Avenue and Bedford Avenue.  L service operates between Bedford Ave and Rockaway Pkwy.  8 minute Frequency

Figure 5

As a result, NYCDOT is exploring HOV restrictions over the East River bridges to enable high-volume replacement bus service that can serve as an acceptable alternative. While many of the entry points of these bridges are from city streets, some connect to limited-access highways where vehicles will be entering the bridge approaches at higher speed. The ATCMTD funds would aid NYCDOT in testing technological solutions to address the significant changes in travel demand through the use of vehicle occupancy sensor technology, which enables open-road verification and enforcement of HOV restrictions. Other US Cities have implemented camera-based technologies of this kind, and NYCDOT’s intention would be to conduct a test of camera technology and its accuracy at key locations. A concept of operations diagram for this technology is depicted in Figure 6. Note that NYCDOT would only seek to implement cameras, test their accuracy and collect data under this grant funding, not develop a violations processing infrastructure.

Illustration of 3 lanes of traffic with cars and mounted cameras looking at them.  The cameras have arrows from them pointing to server.  The server has an arrow pointing to a blue cloud labeled network.  The network has arrows pointing to 1) Downstream police office on roadway, 2) Police officere in back office (ticket), 3) Back office tolling operation (toll).

Figure 6

Integration with NYC and Other Initiatives

The CCMP project will directly support the following initiatives and programs:

  • Vision Zero
  • MTA/NYCDOT L-Train Construction Mitigation
  • MTA/NYCDOT Select Bus Service Operations
  • NYC Freight Plan
  • New York Metropolitan Transportation Council’s Long Range Transportation Plan and travel demand processes
  • Performance measurement and reporting for MAP-21 and FAST Act
  • Roadway State of Good Repair (SOGR) monitoring
  • In-house and capital project planning, design and construction
  • Overall traffic operations, system monitoring and management
  • USDOT Strategic Plan goals
  • New York State Department of Transportation planning objectives
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