Screen to Streets: How Signal Timing Increases Traffic Optimization

October 14, 2021

In this Screen to Streets feature, we highlight traffic optimization through signal timing.

Used to increase efficiency of a system of signalized intersections, if signal timing is well executed, people can get through green lights more consistently. Less time is wasted at red lights, reducing travel time, and increasing safety throughout the whole system.

This is what our traffic optimization team at Alliant works on daily. When our traffic optimization team works on a new project, the first steps are looking at the current plan; identifying characteristics like issues, sites of accidents and how transit fits in. We collect and count the data ourselves, meaning we can see the traffic deficiencies in the system firsthand. We can see what would be beneficial in the field and start setting up a new model.

Signal timing results in less time a stoplights, reduced travel time systemwide and increased safety for all modes of transportation.

Once we have designed our signal timing plan, we implement it by programming it into the controllers and test it by driving down the corridors. This testing allows us to tweak issues and ensure consistency so that drivers experience green light, after green light, and the platoons of vehicles can keep moving.

The future of signal timing is more than just standard vehicles. It includes pedestrians, wheelchairs, transit, metro, bikes. At Alliant we are adjusting our timing to be inclusive of all travelers, including longer crossing speeds near hospitals or nursing homes, and ADA accommodations. Everyone is using the road, so we must include everyone in our plans.

Learn more about traffic optimization in this interview with Cameron Valuch and Michael Odell, two of our Graduate Traffic Engineers.

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