Buses Have The Power To Change Traffic Signals

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(Memphis) MATA bus rides are getting much shorter.

Two major bus routes are all decked out with new technology to help keep you moving.

WREG took a drive down Poplar Avenue, a street known for stop-and-go traffic.

There is something new about the traffic signals on this stretch of road.

"All the traffic signals on Poplar are equipped with the equipment to recognize our buses when they approach the intersection and turn the lights green," Tom Fox, Interim General Manager of MATA, said.

It uses GPS much like the technology many of us use to get from point A to point B.

Now the buses are just as smart as our smartphones. They send signals to let traffic lights know they have arrived.

"It will extend that green most of the time to let the bus get through the intersection," Fox explained.

The program stretches from Kirby through downtown Memphis.

City engineers pitched in to help MATA figure out how to make the program work most efficiently.

"It's really designed to help the riders," Fox said.

The new technology comes after major budget cuts were made last year, sparking complaints about travel times.

Every bus on the fleet has been upgraded with the new technology.

"The city's cost on this project is $100,000," Fox explained.

The rest of the money is funded by federal and state grants.

The money coming in makes the money you spend a little more valuable.

"More reliable service to the riders, we should be able to provide more trips on those routes," Fox said.

MATA told WREG they have been working on the program for a few years.

Buses along Elvis Presley are also using the new technology.


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