Traffic relief: Richmond to re-sync all downtown traffic lights

Source: NBC12
Source: NBC12
Updated: Dec. 1, 2017 at 5:15 PM EST
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RICHMOND, VA (WWBT) - Driving through downtown Richmond may be less of a headache next year. The city is planning to re-synchronize all of the traffic lights in RVA's busiest area - think often congested stretches like Broad Street, by the Capitol, VCU and City Hall.

Richmond traffic engineers say the city's population continues to grow, and that means more cars on the road, especially during rush hour.

Traffic patterns haven't been comprehensively studied since 2009. That means, the timing of traffic signals is outdated and likely not as effective as it could be (ever feel like you catch multiple red lights in a row?).

Richmond is looking to use an $800,000 federal grant to re-time the downtown traffic lights in 2018.

"If it was a steady flow, it would go from green to green to green to green," said commuter Christopher Crockett.

Officials say GRTC's Bus Rapid Transit construction along Broad Street must finish first. Then traffic engineers can study the most current traffic patterns, tracking how many vehicles, pedestrians and bicyclists travel through each intersection and turn.

Traffic lights can be re-timed from the city's traffic control center in City Hall, since signals are now wirelessly connected. In fact, the city engineers often adjust the lights, if they see a need or during events.

"We have been doing some tweaking along the way, but we need to [study] the whole grid to see how much change we need to incorporate," said Enrique Burgos, a senior traffic system engineer.

Richmond is also planning to link up the remaining 75 traffic lights to the wireless control system, and add more cameras to be included in VDOT's 511 traffic info system. Currently, 20 of Richmond's 30 traffic cameras are synched with VDOT's 511 system.

City engineers hope to have all of the downtown lights re-synced by the end of 2018.

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