City of Scottsdale wraps-up two-year traffic flows project

The Transportation Management Center’s wall of screens allows traffic engineers to observe local traffic. (File photo)

All drivers have been there — stuck at a red light, anxiously awaiting the signal change, finally getting the green. And then going through the same ritual a half mile ahead.

Thanks to new technology and some intuitive sleuthing, many commuters are enjoying shorter waits and quicker trips through Scottsdale, according to a press release.

The city is wrapping up a two-year project that analyzed traffic flow to reduce both red light waits and commuting times in 15 high-traffic corridors.

Here’s a sampler of the successes:

  • On a section of Hayden Road between McKellips and Indian Bend roads, travel time was reduced by 17 percent, or about 2.2 minutes;
  • The commute along Scottsdale Road between Frank Lloyd Wright and Shea boulevards was reduced by 19 percent;
  • A section of Scottsdale Road between Pinnacle Peak Road and Frank Lloyd Wright saw travel times drop 12 percent.

Traffic analysts looked at a variety of factors to adjust signals for those routes. Once they understood traffic patterns and conditions, they customized patterns like lagging or leading left-turn arrows to minimize wait times, the press release stated.

“It’s like making a new recipe,” city ITS Traffic Engineer Leslie Bubke said in a prepared statement. “You may have one for chocolate cake, but you change up the ingredients from time to time always looking for the best taste.”

Ms. Bubke said the city should complete the traffic corridor analyses in May. The goal is to reduce travel times in those areas by 10 percent; so far, they are beating that mark.

A few of the corridors ended up with slightly longer commute times to allow more significant reductions in other corridors. It was a trade-off to generate the most travel benefits, the press release stated.

“Ultimately, we want to give more people more green lights at the right times,” she said in the statement.

To learn more about this project and to view the data, visit ScottsdaleAZ.gov and search “traffic signal.”

The Scottsdale Independent is published monthly and mailed to 75,000 homes and businesses in Scottsdale.

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