Annapolis Using Drones To Help Solve Traffic Problem

BALTIMORE (WJZ) —  It’s been a problem for decades in Annapolis, as complaints continue over traffic throughout the area.

Now, city leaders are hoping drones can be a part of the solution.

For years, people have complained about traffic along Forest Drive in Annapolis, which can sometimes be backed up for hours. Now, city leaders are trying to find a new solution for an old problem.

“People have been frustrated, I’ve lived here my whole life. It’s been an issue so, this is one way we’re going to try to make it better,” says Annapolis Mayor Mike Pantelides.

Traffic jams along the heavily-traveled Forest Drive can be a nightmare at times.

“It can be anywhere from 15 to 20 minutes, to three hours that we could be backed up,” says Annapolis Poice Chief Scott Baker.

With gridlock as a result of accidents and roadwork, the Annapolis Police Department is turning to drones to better asses accidents and take on most of the work.

“It’s going to allow us to re-deploy our resource. Instead of having three or four officers out there directing traffic, blocking lanes,” says Chief Baker.

The drones will be used to take measurements, gather evidence and investigate damages, which is work that officers are currently doing out on the roadways.

The drones can help speed up the investigation while keeping traffic moving.

“The average accident sometimes can take three hours, now it can be done as quick as an hour so, really looking forward to this,” says Mayor Pantelides.

The push of drones is part of a new agreement between Annapolis and Anne Arundel county — one that’s centered around technology and the Forest Drive corridor.

“It’s the constant complaints about traffic in Annapolis,” says Chief Baker.

By using this we can be up in the air in a matter of minutes and begin making things happen,” says one official.

Many hope that this could be the new wave of investigating accidents.

Each drone costs about $2,000 with training for the officer. Officials are hoping to use them for then just accidents — possibly even homicide investigations as well.

Forrest drive is currently maintained by both the city and the county.

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