Canada’s Miovision Unveils World’s Smartest Intersection in Detroit


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Canada's Miovision has unveiled five smart intersections in Detroit that it collectively calls the World's Smartest Intersection.

Photo courtesy of Miovision

Miovision, a smart intersection technology company based in Canada, today unveiled what it calls the World’s Smartest Intersection in downtown Detroit. The intersection is a system of sensors, video-based detection, connected traffic signals, and remote monitoring capabilities composed of five intersections along Larned Street.

“Detroit now has the capability to leapfrog other cities,” says Dave Bullock, vice president of market strategy at Miovision. “They have gone from not knowing what was happening at intersections to having access to some of the world’s most innovative intersection technology. The sky’s the limit for how far they can go in using that technology to become one of the smartest cities in the world.”

The intersections generate data that pinpoint areas where traffic-related fatalities and injuries can be reduced. The technology is a combination of hardware and software based on open architecture and artificial intelligence. 

The intersections are able to sense and understand what’s happening on the roadways in real time and trigger responses that include extending green lights to accommodate cyclists; alerting drivers of connected cars or Waze users that jaywalkers are ahead; enabling traffic lights to provide priority access to emergency vehicles; creating intersections that understand and analyze the near misses between users of the roads such as pedestrians, cyclists, and drivers; and enabling traffic lights to provide freight vehicles with green-light priority along certain intersections that don’t have heavy pedestrian use.

“This corridor is a great example of how cities can leverage existing infrastructure to build innovative solutions that immediately benefit people,” says Mark de la Vergne, Detroit’s chief of mobility innovation. “We started with the goal of improving how we monitor our traffic signals, and now we’re working with Miovision to explore how to improve safety for pedestrians and help first responders get to emergencies more quickly.”

The intersection uses smart traffic technology from Miovision that is being deployed in more than 40 percent of the intersections in Detroit. Miovision worked closely with Sunny Jacob, head of the traffic operations department in the city, as it was developing the technology. It was initially deployed to help the traffic operations team remotely monitor and manage intersections and is now being used by the city to analyze and improve the performance of intersections.

“We have already seen significant improvements in traffic flow,” says Jacob. “Understanding where signal timing could be improved has reduced travel times by more than 30 percent where the technology has been deployed.”

The intersections along Larned Street are located at the Griswold, Rivard, St. Aubin, Chene, and McDougall cross streets.

Other city departments have also benefitted from the technology. Detroit Public Safety was able to integrate existing emergency vehicle tracking units with traffic lights to ensure the vehicles were given green lights. In early tests, emergency vehicle preemption has improved emergency response times by almost 20 percent.

“Miovision’s open technology means that we will be able to continue to add new applications to the network and leverage the data we’re collecting to make more improvements that benefit our residents,” says de la Vergne. “Miovision has been a great partner in exploring this technology with us.”

In May, Detroit won an IDC Smart City North America Award for its smart intersection work. IDC also named Miovision an IDC Innovator for Canadian Public Safety Solutions because of safety analytics built upon Miovision’s open architecture platform.

“The work that Detroit and Miovision have done together exemplifies how municipalities and technology companies can help each other achieve great results and improve life for the people who live there,” says Mark Zannoni, research director for smart cities and transportation at IDC Insights. “Improvements in intersection signaling extend far beyond safer intersections to include improved air quality, roadway network reliability, meaning more efficient operations for businesses and commuters, and a city that is more economically competitive relative to others. Detroit's smartest intersection corridor is on the leading edge here.”

The technology showcase will be featured at the ITS America Annual Meeting, June 5-7, in Detroit.

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