Winter Park considers 20-year traffic plan for smart roads

Winter Park's streets and crosswalks could get major upgrades over the next two decades to make them safer for pedestrians and more efficient for drivers. The technology is called CAV infrastructure, which stands for "connected and autonomous vehicle."

Basically, it means that all the traffic lights, crossing signals, road sensors, cameras, and even smart vehicles on the road can communicate with each other electronically. They send signals on when to stop or go, even letting vehicles know when there's something in the way that they can't see.

Professor Yaser Fallah, who teaches computer engineering at UCF says the technology is closer than we think. "If this becomes reality it's going to have a big impact," he said.

The technology can recognize cars and objects on the road, and switch signals or even prompt smart vehicles to stop. This will make crosswalks and intersections less risky for people and traffic. "What we envision is that all of these are connected together and talking to each other," Fallah said.

The plan also includes technology like roadside sensors for parked cars, so people can use an app to find where the free parking spaces are. Consultants for the city say none of this will happen soon. But as they replace and repair traffic lights, signal boxes, and street cameras, the idea is to upgrade them to new ones that use this technology.

Visitors like Jerry Thompson said that would be a good thing. "It would be nice if there were some way to sync one right after the other, and everything else, not counting the cars resting on whatever it takes to go through each traffic light."