MADISON, Ala. – The City of Madison is changing how light signal timing operates on most of the major thoroughfares throughout the city.
“Our traffic volume continues to increase but our pavement doesn’t,” said Director of Engineering Gary Chynoweth.
City engineers say a solution to traffic concerns is coordinating signal timing to help traffic flow on Madison Boulevard, County Line Road, Hughes Road, Wall Triana Highway, Sullivan Street, and Madison Pike.
“We’re trying to sequence them so that in the direction of flow, the lights will turn green ahead of traffic,” says Chynoweth.
In the past, each signal’s timing was independently operated. Up to four different timings were set in each signal to accommodate the traffic demand at different times of the day. Changes were also made to left turns at signals. All lagging left turn signals will be phased out as the coordinated signals are implemented.
“When you approach signals on a random basis, theoretically you could be stopped at every single signal because they act as individual, unconnected,” explained Chynoweth.
Traffic engineers say the hitch in the new timing is how long red lights last coming from side streets.
“They are having to wait sometimes one and a half minutes… up to two minutes before they get into the main road… and it’s a change most people don’t like,” says Chynoweth.
Engineers believe that with time, drivers will realize the changes are actually helpful.
“We’re pretty confident that as they get accustomed to the progression of traffic that they’ll find they can actually get to their destination faster when you look at the overall drive through the city,” says Chynoweth.
The city is constantly monitoring the signal timing and will make adjustments as needed.