Notice more green lights? SDOT says…

SEATTLE – Seattle’s Department of Transportation data shows signal retiming has improved traffic flow within the center city, but there are more changes to come, especially to the Mercer corridor.

Mark Bandy, Director of Transportation Operations, told KING 5 that the work started in December 2015 when SDOT started implementing its Next Generation ITS Center City Signal Timing Project. The work divided downtown Seattle’s 260 intersections into zones and retimed traffic signals in those zones like the Central Business District, Pioneer Square and Belltown.

“We were comparing the first few months of this year to last year, and we’re seeing improvements on the order of 20 seconds … maybe a minute or two in certain corridors which may not seem like a lot but in a very dense and vibrant city, that adds up,” Bandy said. “Pedestrians, bicycles, transit are all stopping less as are drivers trying to go through downtown.”

According to SDOT, the data showed improvements in the Denny Way Corridor, for instance.

A driver going eastbound from Western Avenue to Dexter Avenue saved 20 seconds over last year during the morning rush hour; 1:41 minutes during the evening commute. Overall that section improved 33 seconds, according to SDOT data.

Real Estate Excise Tax funding paid for the $1.35 million signal project.

There are more changes to come. SDOT will be adding in a software platform that enables controllers to feed in other data from the freeway system, for example.

“So that we can get data from the state DOT about what’s going on on I-5 and feed that into our signal system,” Bandy said. “We can respond to those kind of fluctuations when we have more space in the downtown grid to basically give more green time to certain patterns.”

Toward the end of the year, SDOT will start moving toward an Adaptive Signal System in the Mercer Area, which is another level of signal timing.

“That will be a system where it calculates new timing patterns minute-by-minute for the set of intersections along the Mercer Corridor,” Bandy said.

Mercer is one of the busiest corridors in the city with about 60,000 daily vehicles that street.

Bandy said the information bank gathered by within the whole system will be something that grows as Seattle does.

“We like the results we’ve seen. Part of this is like the work is never done,” he said. “I don’t know if I would ever say we’ve reached the end of that work because the city continues to change. It grows. The patterns change.”

Copyright 2016 KING

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