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Using Sensors to Reduce Traffic Congestion & Decrease Travel Times

San Jose, CA, USA
City of San Jose

Government Champion

Department of Transportation, with the Office of Innovation as the executive sponsor.

Project Status

Operational since 2017

At a Glance

The City of San Jose, through its demonstration policy, has partnered with RSM Technologies to pilot remote sensors on a number of strategic intersections throughout the city. Initial results from the pilot highlight the opportunity remote sensors represent to improve congestion and safety in transit systems.

Problem Addressed

Like most other major cities, the City of San Jose is always on the lookout for ways to improve its transportation system in alignment with major city priorities like improving mobility and access and improving safety. Remote sensing technologies (e.g. smart sensors, Internet of Things) could represent a significant opportunity for the city to reduce congestion and improve safety.

City of San Jose used/is using /is using a pilot of remote sensing technology at specific intersections to address this/these challenge(s).

Solution(s) Used

RSM’s demonstration project with the City of San Jose involves the installation of vehicle and pedestrian sensors at traffic intersections in the north San Jose Transportation Innovation Zone (TIZ). Radars, infrared pedestrian sensors and other software to capture, process and communicate data were installed at the intersection of Tasman Drive and Zanker Road in July of 2017. Through this demonstration project, RSM aims to show how signal timing plans and overall intersection performance and safety can be improved using applied computational intelligence. Additionally, RSM is beta testing the use of pedestrian data to enhance safety in alignment with Vision Zero objectives. During the demonstration, RSM also plans to develop new analytics and applications to communicate valuable data from infrastructure to connected vehicles and vice-versa.


  1. Based on first 6 months of the pilot, simulations indicate that it will be possible to reduce travel time by an average of 10%.
  2. Based on first 6 months of the pilot, simulations indicate that it will be possible to save 25 hours of travel time per weekday.
  3. Based on first 6 months of the pilot, simulations indicate that it will be possible to substantially reduce ‘Maximum Delay’ (the longest delay a vehicle experiences during peak traffic times)

Something Unique

This project falls under the City's Demonstration Policy, which allows for short term pilots to test new innovative technologies and solutions at no cost to the city.

Who Should Consider?

Other high-capacity cities interested in pursuing smart cities technologies to reduce traffic congestion and improve mobility.