Local News

New Traffic-Light System Cuts Travel Time On Cary Roads

Posted March 23, 2006

— The town of Cary is close to finishing an $11.5 million computerized traffic management system designed to cut back on congestion.

Detectors buried in street pavement feed information back to a central computer, where technicians can adjust signal light timing to improve the flow of traffic, even during rush hour.

So far, the system is in place on southbound Kildaire Farm Road from Maynard Road to Cary Parkway and Maynard Road to Lochmere Road. From Maynard to Cary Parkway, travel time has been reduced by three minutes, and from Maynard to Lochmere, travel time has been reduced by four minutes.

The system is also in place on northbound Harrison Avenue from Chapel Hill Road to Interstate 40 with a two-minute improvement. And from I-40 back to Chapel Hill Road, the ride is 2.5 minutes shorter.

Drivers give the new system mixed reviews. Some say the drive in the areas is faster, and others say they can't tell much of a difference.

Cary traffic managers say even with their improvement, there is still criticism.

"People only remember the red lights," said Dick Moore, traffic systems manager for Cary. "They don't remember how many green lights they went through."

The new traffic system is expected to be complete by summer.

The city of Raleigh is still in the design stage of a similar traffic signal system, and hopes that work on the project will begin over the next several months. Finishing the project is expected to take about four years.

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