SPRINGFIELD, Mo. – According to traffic engineers, Springfield is easier than most cities its size when making it around town and that’s thanks to the age of the city.
KOLR10’s Brett Martin found the best way to navigate around town and how engineers work to make sure traffic moves smoothly throughout the "grid".
While it all depends on the time of day you are trying to get from one place to another in Springfield, there are a few ways to avoid some of the most congested areas.
Megan Long is a student at Missouri State from Jefferson City and says getting around town was difficult at first.
"Once I started going around town and stuff, I could find just the basic roads like National and Glenstone."
Martin Gugel is the traffic engineer for operations and says the layout of Springfield roads dates back decades.
"Springfield, historically, dates back quite a ways when the interstate came through. Most towns of this size have more of a ring road, ring route system."
He says Springfield is unique for a city its size, so now city workers do their best to make sure traffic moves smoothly on the main roads.
"You've got two streets that carry equal amounts of traffic and heavy amounts of traffic because you can’t really give priority for one over the other," says Martin.
We put the grid system to the test by leaving KOLR10's studio on Division Street. One car took Division to Highway 65 to Sunshine to Campbell, while the second car took Division to National to Grand to Campbell.
After leaving at the same time, the car that took the city streets arrived to Bass Pro Shop faster than the other.
These shoppers say they have their own ways to Bass Pro Shop too.
"I took National and then Sunshine and then Campbell."
"National to Seminole to Campbell."
Eric Classen monitors the 270 street lights and says the timing would all change depending on the time of day.
"We have a morning plan, we have morning off plan, a noon plan, a school dismissal plan, a PM plan and an off-peak plan."
Martin says its a trial-and-error on finding the best way around town.
"There’s multiple ways to get from one point to the other. Its trial and error to kind of figure out the best way that works."
Martin says with James River Freeway, Interstate 44 and Highway 65 connecting, trying to get from point A to point B is easier if your destination is on the outer edges.
"If you can use the freeways, it may be longer from a distance stand point, but you might find out if you can use those as much as possible, it might cut down on the time."
He says his goal as an engineer is to get more people driving on highways and main roads, instead, of secondary roads.
"We want to try to keep the traffic in residential streets for obvious reasons," says Martin.
Tammie May is a culprit of that, but says its easier than handling congested streets.
"Over off Sunshine and Long Pine, you know, you go back through where the school is over there, to go over to Battlefield and Seminole."
Eric and Martin say the city is constantly working to make sure traffic flows smoothly around town.
"We know that its not going to go away so what we try to do as engineers is make that as painless as possible."
"I would hope that you could travel from James River Freeway all the way to Chestnut Expressway with just one stop."