Beach Traffic Flow Optimization for Lewes and Rehoboth, Delaware

A Project Proposal

Posted by dave on July 30, 2023


Dynamically control and adapt traffic flow to the needs of local beach towns by using networked smart traffic lights and signs.


Upcoming physical road construction aimed at alleviating traffic congestion, including five roundabouts on King's Highway and major changes to Five Points, will take many years to complete. Meanwhile, the proposed project for upgrading traffic signaling requires significantly less time and money and can be implemented sooner than the planned road modifications, providing immediate relief to current traffic issues.

Project Description

The project involves creating a system of networked traffic lights, equipped with sensors and cameras, for monitoring and controlling the flow of traffic. This system would be implemented in Lewes at key locations including 1st Street, Savannah at 5 Points, and King's Highway. The traffic flow around vital areas such as Beebe Hospital, Cape Henlopen High School, Cape Henlopen State Park, Lewes-Cape May Ferry, Lewes Beaches, and Downtown 2nd Street, and on the primary area arteries (Rt1, Rt 9, Rt 24) would be specifically targeted.

Functional Requirements

The system should be able to handle different types of traffic flows:

Emergency Flow: This mode allows the highest flow for active emergency vehicles traveling to and from Beebe Hospital or on Rt 1, Rt9, and Rt24. Triggered by emergency personnel through a secured phone app, this mode activates a predefined emergency route pattern to control the traffic lights along the route.

Congested Flow: To manage high congestion areas such as schools, ferry departures, and during planned events (or possibly a presidential motorcade), administrative personnel can program a scheduled event through the secured phone app. The app would present a list of predefined route patterns that can be selected and scheduled.

Accelerated Flow: During times of higher than normal traffic, administrative personnel can trigger an accelerated flow via the app, selecting from predefined route patterns.

Normal Flow: This mode is the default flow and can be activated by administrative personnel through the secured phone app.

Manual Override: Senior Administrative personnel can trigger any of the traffic flow patterns via the app when required. More than one route pattern can be activated if they do not impact each other.

The software control programs would manage the light durations and sequence at an intersection, synchronize lights for a route, and enable automatic vehicle detection.

Potential Additional Features

Traffic Pattern Analysis and Prediction: The system could use historical data and machine learning to predict traffic patterns and preemptively adjust traffic signals.

Incident Reporting: The system could automatically inform the control center or local traffic management authority if a traffic incident or congestion occurs.

Maintenance Alerts: Alerts could be provided for required maintenance or malfunctioning of traffic signals.

Real-time Traffic Updates: The system could offer real-time updates to local residents about the traffic situation.

Road User Feedback: The system could offer a mechanism for road users to provide feedback on traffic conditions.


Legal and Regulatory Considerations: Updating traffic systems may require navigating complex legal and regulatory landscapes, especially with technology interfaces with public safety vehicles.

Data Security and Privacy: The use of cameras and sensors may present the risk of data breaches and privacy violations. Robust measures will need to be put in place to protect data security and individual privacy.

Infrastructure Integration: The new system must be seamlessly integrated with the existing infrastructure without causing major disruption or downtime.

System Accuracy and Efficiency: The system must accurately identify and prioritize different traffic situations to ensure optimal functionality. It should also minimize latency to allow for real-time responses.

By addressing these challenges head-on, the Beach Traffic Flow Optimization project has the potential to significantly enhance traffic management in Lewes and Rehoboth, delivering a more efficient and safer road experience for both locals and visitors.