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Amherst is joining forces with a local developer of innovative battery technology to provide an instantaneous backup system for the town’s traffic intersections and improve traffic safety.
The technology, provided by Buffalo-based Viridi Parente, ensures power consistency during power outages, Supervisor Brian J. Kulpa said Wednesday.
Kulpa said it complements a product called Miovision, which the town is using for its traffic signalization.
“Miovision is a technology that uses a camera and a computer, basically, to tell if a pedestrian or vehicle is moving across an intersection, or is coming to an intersection,” Kulpa said.
As part of a pilot program, the town recently installed an intersection backup power system using safe lithium-ion battery technology from Viridi’s Volta Energy Product’s group. The Volta FAVEO Traffic System was installed at the corner of Maple and Flint roads, where 27,700 vehicles pass through each day. At the conclusion of the pilot program period, Amherst will seek more opportunities to apply the technology to other critical intersections.
“It takes the place of our 1950s style loop detectors, which are just weight grade cable under the road,” Kulpa said.
The cable sends an electronic signal to the traffic signal that there is a backup and that the signal should change.
“You can imagine that those are pretty limited, and they tend to break a lot,” Kulpa said.
The new technology is pole mounted and uses a camera to tell the difference between traffic volumes.
“Those Miovision cameras talk to each other. So there’s an integrated network of signals down the road,” Kulpa said.
Whenever the grid power is interrupted, the Volta FAVEO system will instantaneously power up, resulting in no disruption of service to traffic lights, police cameras and other intersection technology. Fully-functioning traffic signals also allow officers to provide other critical public safety services during power outages instead of directing traffic at major intersections, the supervisor said.
“So we experience power outages in Western New York somewhat frequently. A lot of it is tree and weather dependent,” Kulpa said.
Currently, the town’s police personnel have to go out and fix generators to the intersections to re-establish lost traffic signals, which, Kulpa said, is not very effective.
“Non-functioning traffic lights are dangerous, especially at this busy intersection where we have experienced several outages,” Kulpa said, referring to Maple and Flint roads.
He said the new technology will not only modernize the town’s grid, but make its roads safer for motorists.