NEW YORK (CBSNewYork) -- What if you could fix a traffic jam with a push of a button?
It might be just wishful thinking or it could become reality under a new high-tech traffic monitoring system unveiled by Mayor Michael Bloomberg -- optimistically called "Midtown in Motion."
Traffic engineers in the city's new high-tech Traffic Management Center don't look like wizards, but they may have the ability to make traffic congestion disappear, reports CBS 2's Marcia Kramer.
"This system is about to take a quantum leap forward," Bloomberg said Monday.
WCBS 880's Peter Haskell reports: City Testing New Way To Ease Traffic
The new program is sort of big brother-ish. An array of new traffic monitoring gear, including microwave sensors, traffic video cameras and E-ZPass readers will be used to measure traffic volume at 23 intersections. The technology will allow traffic experts to spot traffic tie-ups or unusual congestion and then do something about it.
"It will allow engineers to quickly identify congestion choke points as they occur and what's most important, they'll then be able to remotely alter traffic signal patterns to begin to clear up Midtown jams at the touch of a button," Bloomberg said.
1010 WINS' Stan Brooks reports: Traffic Jams Cleared At The Touch Of A Button
The new anti-congestion plan will operate in a 110-square block area from Second to Sixth avenues and from 42nd to 57th streets.
"We all know that Midtown at rush hour is always packed, but now engineers can sit there and touch buttons to turn lights green quicker, leave it on green quicker, leave it off green quicker," Bloomberg said.
Neither the mayor nor his transportation commissioner is promising instant relief, just quicker relief, and a stab at making it better for drivers.
"I don't want anybody to think that starting tomorrow morning, there will never be another traffic jam," Bloomberg said.
The federal government is picking up $600,000 of the $1.6 million price tag. If it works, the system could be in place city-wide by 2013.
"For far too long Midtown traffic was very much like the weather, you know, everybody commented on it but nobody seemed to be able to do anything about it," Department of Transportation Commissioner Janette Sadik-Khan said.
"Our traffic engineers actually have the tools they need to identify a problem and to respond in real-time."
If the anti-congestion plan works the city plans to expand it to high trafficked areas in all five boroughs. The next area to get the new traffic upgrade is expected someplace in Manhattan, probably Midtown west.
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