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Annenberg School of Communication and Journalism University of Southern California

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Traffic Signals Changed to Speed Up Roads

LA traffic signals will now be synchronized to lower time spent in traffic by 12 percent.

On Tuesday morning, Los Angeles Mayor Antonio Villaraigosa officially linked all 4,400 traffic signals in the city, which is expected to significantly relieve traffic.

“As of today, we have synchronized every traffic signal in the City of Los Angeles,” Villaraigosa said as the final traffic signal within the system was turned on at the intersection of South Broadway and Martin Luther King Boulevard.

LA traffic will soon be reduced through the Automated Traffc Surveillance & Control System. (ATVN)
LA traffic will soon be reduced through the Automated Traffc Surveillance & Control System. (ATVN)

Traffic signals will by synchronized through one central system using the Automated Traffic Surveillance & Control program, which cost $410 million to coordinate.

Transportation engineers will be able to monitor traffic through cameras throughout the city and make adjustments to traffic lights to reduce gridlock.

“By synchronizing our traffic signals, we will spend nearly a day less (per year) waiting and reduce pollution by nearly a metric ton of carbon every year,'' Villaraigosa said.

Jaime de la Vega, general manager of the Los Angeles Department of Transportation, said the synchronization will decrease time spent in gridlock by 16 percent while increasing travel time by 12 percent.

This will also have the added benefit of reducing carbon emissions, as cars will not be stagnant as often. It is expected to reduce emissions by 1 million metric tons per year.  

This system can also be used by emergency vehicles and for events at major venues such as the Staples Center and Dodger Stadium.

The project was started after the 1984 Olympic Games held in Los Angeles highlighted the severity of traffic issues in the city. The project stalled until 2005, when Villaraigosa lobbied for the allocation of $150 million to the program.

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