4/20/2005US Traffic Signals Given a D- Grade
State, federal and private transportation officials give a D- to the state of traffic signals in the US.
The nation's traffic signals are operating at a "D-" level according to a report card issued today by the National Transportation Operations Coalition. This means longer commutes and more congestion according to the Coalition, which is comprised of traffic engineering organizations and state and federal officials including the Federal Highway Administration. The grade is based on the voluntary self-assessments completed by 378 agencies in 49 states.
The accompanying report documents a number of significant problems in current practices, including signal timing that is not reviewed frequently enough to meet changing traffic patterns. The report also found that signals are often not coordinated between neighboring cities and jurisdictions, leading to longer waits for motorists. The signal timing at individual intersections is often poorly documented, and regular maintenance receives a low priority.
"Signal systems just don't get enough attention -- signals are so low key," said Shelley Row, Associate Executive Director for Technical Programs for the Institute of Transportation Engineers.
The goal of today's press event was to direct attention to signal issues and to request increased funding. A recently released study from the Texas Transportation Institute showed that the inexpensive change of adding an additional second to the yellow time recommended by the Institute of Transportation Engineers yielded a 40 percent reduction in crashes.
The full executive summary is available below in a 960k PDF file.