Multi-Agency Effort to Help Mitigate High Traffic Volumes, Make Parking More Efficient.
Albany, NY - August 22, 2017 - Governor Andrew M. Cuomo today announced that state-owned drones will be used for the first time to monitor weekend traffic conditions at the 2017 Great New York State Fair. Weekends are traditionally the highest attended days of the 13-day extravaganza, often with heavy traffic volumes and near-capacity parking lots. The new drone technology will help the New York State Police and the State Department of Transportation better monitor traffic and parking lot capacity, allowing them do their jobs more effectively and reduce delays for fairgoers.
"The New York State Fair attracts visitors from all corners of the state and beyond, and we want fairgoers to enjoy all that the Fair has to offer," Governor Cuomo said. "By using state-of-the-art drone technology, we will be able to better respond to changing traffic conditions and ensure a smoother travel experience for visitors. Investments in the State Fair led to record-breaking attendance last year, and we are committed to making this year's Fair even better."
The drone technology is a joint effort between NYSDOT, the State Department of Environmental Conservation, and New York State Police. Operating under FAA guidelines by line of sight rules, with a range of approximately one mile, they will help provide enhanced situational awareness to assist with traffic management. NYSDOT will also direct traffic as needed through the use of Variable Message Signs on Interstate 690, State Route 690, Interstate 81 and Interstate 481. The New York State Thruway Authority will broadcast updates on their variable message sign network.
Drone industry investment also complements a larger initiative to boost economic growth as a crucial part of the Central NY Rising plan. Drone research, development and manufacturing were key to the region's winning $500 million Upstate Revitalization Initiative plan.
"As a lifelong resident of Central New York, I know how much the Fair means to the people in this area," said incoming Thruway Authority Executive Director Matthew Driscoll. "We are using every tool at our disposal to make getting to and from the Fair as seamless as possible in 2017 and help Central New York continue to rise. This new drone technology will help give us a brand new perspective on up-to-the-minute traffic conditions and parking lot capacity."
DEC Commissioner Basil Seggos said, "As we continue to use cutting edge technology like drones to improve our emergency response and environmental management efforts, DEC is always available to assist our sister state agencies in helping to ensure public safety at events like the Great New York State fair. In addition to helping with traffic safety, this mission provides an important training opportunity for our staff."
New York State Police Superintendent George P. Beach II said, "This collaboration with our partners at DOT and DEC provides a new tool to monitor traffic conditions and make adjustments as needed. Our priority is to ensure a safe and steady flow of traffic, and the best possible experience for those visiting the Fair."
Acting New York State Fair Director Troy Waffner said, "We appreciate the hard work of our partners at DOT, Centro and the New York State Police to help ensure a smooth traffic and parking effort. Fairgoers should be assured that we have learned a lot from last year's surprising surge in visitors and we worked hard to open up hundreds more parking spaces to assure the maximum convenience for fairgoers. However, we urge fairgoers to take advantage if they can of the ultimate convenience of being dropped off and picked up at the gate by bus."
Accelerating Central NY Rising
Today's announcement complements "Central NY Rising," the region's comprehensive blueprint to generate robust economic growth and community development. The State has already invested nearly $3 billion in the region since 2012 to lay the groundwork for the plan - capitalizing on global market opportunities, strengthening entrepreneurship and creating an inclusive economy. Today, unemployment is down to the lowest levels since before the Great Recession; personal and corporate income taxes are down; and businesses are choosing places like Syracuse, Oswego and Auburn as a destination to grow and invest in.
Now, the region is accelerating Central NY Rising with a $500 million State investment through the Upstate Revitalization Initiative, announced by Governor Cuomo in December 2015. The State's $500 million investment will incentivize private business to invest well over $2.5 billion - and the region's plan, as submitted, projects up to 5,900 new jobs. More information is available here.
The 2017 Fair runs from Wednesday, August 23 through Monday, September 4. For more information on the 2017 Great New York State Fair, please visit: https://nysfair.ny.gov/.