Drivers and pedestrians in Sugar Land will soon be monitored by an artificial intelligence-powered traffic system to be installed on 92 traffic signals as part of the city’s efforts to improve traffic safety.

The gist

On Jan. 16, Sugar Land City Council voted to purchase NoTraffic’s AI Detection System from Texas Highway Products, which will cost $2.7 million.

The traffic detection system uses radar, video and vision AI technologies to distinguish vehicles, bicycles and pedestrians before processing the data and sending it to a cloud-based data analytics software for further processing, according to agenda documents. Sugar Land first began testing NoTraffic’s AI Detection system in August 2022.

According to agenda documents, the new system will do the following:
  • Detect and quantify pedestrians and bicycle crossing, which leads to safer operations when understanding when, where and how many pedestrians are crossing at an intersection
  • Measure the amount of time a pedestrian or a vehicle waited at an intersection to calculate signal delay to determine a level of service
  • Measure what percent of vehicles arrive during green and red intervals
  • Detect stalled vehicles and accidents at the intersection
  • Detect red light running
In their own words

“The city is in the process of building that next generation of intelligent transportation systems,” City Traffic Engineer James Turner said. “We’re looking for systems that extend our capabilities, make our roads safer, more efficient, make us more proactive when it comes to mobility.”

City Attorney Meredith Reide said the AI system will not be used by law enforcement, given that Texas state lawmakers voted to prohibit traffic enforcement with cameras in 2019.

“There may be a possibility for a civil situation, but there is no way this information could be used in a criminal [case] because of that state law,” Reide said.

Next steps

City officials estimate the project will begin in February and take six to eight months to complete.