First phase nearly complete of Raleigh traffic light overhaul

Posted March 21, 2011

— The first phase of a $28 million project to synchronize Raleigh’s traffic lights is expected to be complete by the fall, city officials said Monday.

The project began four years ago to overhaul the city’s traffic signal system.

“It’s essentially every signal in the city limits. The old system had 520 signals. This will have about 600,” Raleigh traffic engineer Mike Kennon said.

The city has been divided into quadrants. The first phase covers northeast Raleigh, including Capital Boulevard.

Driver Amy Lineberry fights congestion on Capital Boulevard every morning. She said it takes her 20 and 30 minutes to get to work, depending on traffic lights.

“Normally in the morning, you sit through two light changes,” Lineberry said.

The second phase of the project, which covers the southwest portion of the city, is expected to be completed by early next year.

The rest of Raleigh’s lights will be synchronized by fall 2013.

As part of the project, the city is replacing all old traffic signals with energy-saving LEDs.

Raleigh plans to synchronize traffic lights Raleigh plans to synchronize traffic lights

City engineers said synchronizing the signals will probably save the average driver only a few seconds on his or her commute. The effects, however, will add up.

“It’s going to mean better air quality, less emissions,” Kennon said.

Drivers might also save money on gas, he said.

Lineberry isn't sure how much time or money the synchronized lights will save her, but she's says it's a change for the better.

“If it does reduce the amount of traffic sitting there, that's a smaller carbon footprint, which would help Raleigh,” she said.


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  • workingforthosethatwont Mar 21, 2011

    I always travel Capital Blvd early sunday mornings going fishing. going north I have to stop at almost every light from the beltline to Wake Forest and there is virtually no traffic between 5 and 6am. It's like they are timed to turn red one after the other. Very frustrating and all that stop and go stuff costs even more gas! Surely this can be rectified.

  • tar97heel Mar 21, 2011

    The LED lights seem to flicker is the move even slight.y, such as in wind. Anyone who's driven through them knows what I'm talking about. They are only bright if they are rock-steady, otherwise they are weak

  • arfamr1007 Mar 21, 2011

    I wonder which one of Meeker's buddies is cashing in on this cash cow

  • bob19594 Mar 21, 2011

    Raleigh should go further and make set most of the traffic lights so they are flasing yellow on main streets and flashing red on side streets late a night / early in the morning. That would allow the few cars that are on the road during those hours to get to their destination sooner.

  • Leonardo Mar 21, 2011

    Wow...I'm SHOCKED that most comments on here are negative. Who'da guessed it?

  • SatelliteBgan Mar 21, 2011

    I found that “Raleigh traffic Engineer” and “Common sense Traffic Light setting” is an oxymoron. Did you know that every traffic light in Raleigh already has a computer located on one of the street corners that controls the light and can be programmed to move traffic. Just need someone with knowledge on how to move traffic to program it using a very simple software package. Next time your at a traffic light, just look for the box at one of the corners your at. So, why for the past years have they not been programmed correctly? OK, they need “more money” and a “newer system”. Sound familiar? I'm not going to hold my breath at the “new system” as I would be 6' under in 10 minutes

  • freedomfromAmeriKa Mar 21, 2011

    $47K per lite! LOL

  • sammyg Mar 21, 2011

    I for one am all for timing these dang lights!

  • smcallah Mar 21, 2011

    "And, LEDs - you mean the ones that you can't see unless you are right under them? "

    I'm not sure that you know what an LED traffic light actually is.

    The LED lights are brighter than the dull looking incadescent lights used in the past.

    If you actually know what an LED traffic light is, and you are complaining that you can't see them unless you are under them, then you should immediately turn in your driver's license, because you are endangering everyone on the road with your eyesight.

  • smcallah Mar 21, 2011

    "I wish all towns would make the 'walk' 'don't walk' signals automatic with the lights. This would help pedestrians. Does anyone know how much money they save by making the ped hit a button asking to cross?"

    That would not help pedestrians unless they made the green light longer to give pedestrians time to cross.

    When a pedestrian pushes the button, that signals the light to stay green long enough for a person to cross the street. At some lights where the ped buttons are, the light will not stay green for long enough for someone to cross if no one pushed the button.

    It would be stupid to break this, as people would have to sit at red lights for longer than necessary because no one is crossing the street, and the cars that had the green light are long gone.