Collier County traffic system may see major improvements after vote

Reporter: Michael Hudak Writer: Joey Pellegrino
Published: Updated:
Collier County stop sign. Credit: WINK News

You know what a headache it can be driving to work: The stoplights aren’t coordinated and the traffic is backed up. Collier County has plenty of congested roads, but on Tuesday, county leaders will be exploring a first-of-its-kind technological upgrade to the traffic system to make your drive smoother and safer.

Collier County has been waiting for an upgrade like this for seven years. It is designed to do two things to improve your life: make the community safer and make your commute easier.

Say there’s a vehicle crash in Collier County; the news spreads word about it and the people at a traffic data center notice. They can adjust the stoplights in and around the area of the crash and manually move traffic to make it flow more smoothly. This upgrade will allow them to do it faster.

Collier is getting $1 million to pay for it in a grant from the state.

“This is taxpayer money at the state level that now we’ve been lucky enough to acquire, and it’s going to increase our capability exponentially for very important safety… traffic, first responder, you know, types of things,” said Rick Locastro, Collier County commissioner for District 1.

This grant will also help defend the county’s database against hackers. While there has never been a hack to Collier County’s system, there have been many instances just in 2021 of huge databases getting hacked. It’s something that affects us on a national level and could potentially do some damage on a local level. This software update is going to give Collier County the defense mechanism it needs to stop hackers and protect valuable information, making the county’s technology faster and harder to decode.

“One of the things that sometimes you hear in different counties that have a traffic management center, um, you know, some 20-year-old college student is sitting in his dorm room, changing the street, streetlights, doing those kind of funky things,” Locastro said. “So I’m not saying that that’s happened here. But you have to trust me, as a former military officer, you have to have this stuff on lockdown.”

Usually, big upgrades and changes like this take a long time to actually manifest once approved. But if this is approved by Collier County commissioners Tuesday, these changes could happen within the next 30 days.

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