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TraffiCalm’s Innovative Radar Technology

April 27, 2020

Observing and responding to traffic control devices is second nature for most drivers, but sometimes people take for granted where these electronic lights and digital displays come from. Here’s a look at innovative companies such as TraffiCalm, which is revolutionizing solutions oriented traffic control devices across America.

Changing the World With Radar

Radar is a form of radio technology that has been around for decades. One of the earliest companies to research and pioneer this invention was the British conglomerate, Electrical and Music Industries (EMI), which also helped develop early experimental television for the BBC in the Great Depression era. The firm developed radar equipment for the British Army during the war in the 1940s. At that time, several other nations were secretly experimenting with the technology, using radio waves to detect aircraft and other military equipment.

EMI went on to build its own brand of computer equipment the following decade. The company became best known for its music division, which owned Parlaphone Records in the UK and Capitol Records in the United States. It’s the label that signed the world’s most successful music act, The Beatles. The firm also owned Abbey Road Studios, where Pink Floyd later recorded as well.

The term RADAR entered the global lexicon in 1940 when it was introduced by the US Navy. It was an acronym for Radio Detection and Ranging. The technology became the basis for various forms of surveillance, ocean and space exploration, and military operations. Radar is able to monitor the location, range, angle, and velocity of moving objects, using a radio transmitter, antenna, and receiver.

Modern Radar for Traffic Monitoring

In the late 1970s, another big multi-dimensional company, 3M, ushered in a new era of digital audio equipment at recording studios. The first studio to use its revolutionary new digital tape deck was Studio 80 in Minneapolis, not far from the home of 3M. It’s where Prince recorded his early demos in 1977 and where Bob Dylan had recorded for years. The massive dance hit “Funkytown” by Lipps Inc was recorded there in 1980.

Fast forward a few decades to 2001, when 3M partnered with a new firm called TraffiCalm to develop the radar-based 3M Traffic Safety Systems. All of TraffiCalm’s traffic control systems are MUTCD compliant and are designed to help local officials counter traffic problems. Here are some of the contributions the Idaho manufacturer has made to traffic control systems:

  • Sign Alert systems for traffic calming
  • Electronic driver feedback signs
  • Solar powered display trailers for variable speed limit signs
  • LED traffic lights with sensors for detecting traffic speeds
  • Flashing LEDs attached to road signs
  • Curve warning systems
  • Pedestrian crossing solutions with LED signage


Thinking ahead of the curve on the long road of electronic evolution has led to many great inventions that improve society. Contact Zumar to learn more about innovative traffic control systems to help create safer roads for drivers and pedestrians.

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