Governor Andrew M. Cuomo today announced that nearly 300 additional electronic message boards and traffic cameras have been installed along major traffic corridors in New York State. The new highway cameras and Variable Message Signs are part of the Governor's ambitious initiative to improve communication with the traveling public, enhance safety and promote greater situational awareness among motorists and traffic system managers. The initiative is part of the Governor's proactive approach to managing traffic during heavy snowstorms, extreme weather, vehicular crashes and other events that impact travel.
"Severe weather events are happening with increasing frequency and these new electronic message signs and traffic cameras will give motorists the most up-to-date information on road conditions and traffic," Governor Cuomo said. "Creating a 21st Century transportation system isn't just about building new roads and bridges - it's about giving drivers timely information so they can make informed decisions and arrive at their destinations safely."
As part of the initiative, the state Department of Transportation installed and activated an additional 125 cameras and 143 VMS units at critical locations along major traffic corridors. With the new equipment in place, there are now 1,150 NYSDOT cameras and more than 550 NYSDOT VMS boards connected to DOT's 10 Transportation Management Centers and publicly accessible via 511NY. The additional message signs boost the Department's reach in announcing and updating snowstorm-related travel bans — particularly for long-haul truck operators — as well as providing timely information to motorists already on the road.
The Thruway Authority also deployed an additional 25 new portable Variable Message Signs across its 570-mile system ahead of the snow and ice season. The portable VMS boards have been distributed across the Thruway's four Divisions statewide and will be strategically redeployed as necessary.
The Thruway Authority now has 78 permanent and more than 120 portable VMS across the state that can display urgent real-time messages during severe weather or other emergencies and traffic incidents.
In addition to the New York State Thruway, locations with new cameras and VMS units include:
- Interstate 81
- Interstate 84
- Interstate 86
- Interstate 87/Northway
- Interstate 88
- Interstate 490
- Buffalo Metro Area highways
State Department of Transportation Commissioner Marie Therese Dominguez said, "Governor Cuomo is leading the way by investing in a smart transportation network that informs motorists in real time about traffic conditions. These new VMS boards and cameras will provide motorists and traffic managers with critically important information that will help them make more informed decisions especially during bad weather, while enhancing the overall safety of the traveling public."
Thruway Authority Executive Director Matthew J. Driscoll said, "Variable Message Signs are a vital tool that display critical messages directly intended for motorists during an emergency or weather event. By adding more of these boards across our system, drivers have increased access to essential real-time travel information within seconds."
State Police Superintendent Keith M. Corlett said, "The new electronic signs and cameras are a welcome addition that will enhance the ability of State Police and our partners at DOT and the Thruway Authority to manage traffic and weather incidents, and communicate effectively with motorists. This project supports our shared mission of prioritizing safety first.
The Thruway Authority encourages motorists to download its mobile app which is available for free on iPhone and Android devices. The app provides motorists access to real-time traffic and navigation assistance while on the go. Motorists can also sign up for TRANSalert e-mails, which provide updates on the latest traffic conditions along the Thruway, here.
Travelers can check NYSDOT's 511NY before traveling by calling 5-1-1, visiting the 511 website here or downloading the free 511NY mobile app on iTunes or Google Play. The free service allows users to check road conditions, view traffic cameras and access to other transit information. The app features Drive mode, which provides audible alerts along a chosen route while a user is driving, warning them about incidents and construction.