New tool in Springfield improves traffic signal system

National News

SPRINGFIELD, Mo. — Springfield City Council approved a new tool to help with traffic flow during its meeting Tuesday, June 1.

Drivers will start to notice devices attached to stoplights around town. These little white boxes act as a radar system to give drivers a little extra time to get through an intersection before the light turns yellow.

Traffic engineer Tom Dancy said the benefits of these boxes are three-fold: they enhance safety, improve mobility, and maintain the reliability of stoplights.

“You won’t have to go all the way up to the intersection and potentially have to stop before you get detected by the traffic signals,” said Dancy.

One of the boxes is up and running at National and Bennett in Springfield. Unlike ones in the pavement or at the intersection, the new device can track cars coming from up to 600 feet away.

“We’re already getting that kind of data from that intersection,” said Dancy. “We’re seeing northbound arrivals about 93% are arriving there at green. Southbound about 89% averaged out through the day.”

Dancy said he hopes the technology will help prevent rear-end crashes, but the data will also track how many cars pass by and how fast they are going.

“We can start to measure to see what portion of those vehicles are arriving on a green light, yellow, or red and then we analyze that and do a better job of our traffic signal programming, our modeling and software to further minimize the people that are having to stop, and just improve traffic flow, reduce delay and obviously with a goal of improving safety,” said Dancy.

The system is mostly being funded through a $600,000 federal grant. City Council approved another $150,000 funded through a one-eighth cent transportation sales tax.

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