New Adaptive Signal Control Technology activated along Bell Road between 99th Avenue and 73rd Avenue
Pilot project aims to improve traffic flow, reduce travel time for Bell Road drivers
The Maricopa County Department of Transportation (MCDOT), in partnership with the cities of Glendale and Peoria, and the Arizona Department of Transportation (ADOT), has activated new Adaptive Signal Control Technology (ASCT) along Bell Road between 99th Avenue and 73rd Avenue. This is one of four smaller projects in the Bell Road Adaptive Signal Project and includes 13 intersections surrounding the Bell Road and Loop 101 freeway interchange.
“Bell Road is Maricopa County’s highest volume road,” said Jennifer Toth, MCDOT Director and County Engineer. “Our goal in installing this new adaptive signal control technology is to help drivers to reach their destinations safer and faster.”
“This cooperative, multi-agency project is the future of traffic management,” said Brent Cain, director of ADOT’s Transportation Systems Management and Operations Division. “For example, when changing freeway conditions affect traffic patterns at nearby Bell Road intersections, the adaptive signal technology responds with traffic light adjustments to limit delays.”
The adaptive signal control equipment was installed at these intersections last year. Since then, the system has been in learning mode to allow it to understand traffic patterns in the area. Also during this time, the communication network linking the intersections and agencies was tested. The ASCT system was officially activated on Wednesday, February 7, 2018.
While the ASCT system is now operational, it is still considered to be in a test mode as the system is fine-tuned and adjusted in the coming weeks. Therefore, drivers in the area may not notice any immediate or significant changes to signal timing.
“Bell Road through Glendale is an important route for thousands of Northwest Valley commuters. It also provides access to many of Glendale’s regional shopping and entertainment destinations,” said Debbie Albert, City of Glendale Traffic Engineer. “The primary benefit of this technology over conventional signal systems is that it is more responsive to traffic patterns as they occur, thereby reducing vehicle emissions, fuel consumption, and travel times.”
“The Peoria Auto District on Bell Road and the P83 Entertainment District are vital economic areas for the city of Peoria,” said Adina Lund, Development and Engineering Director at the City of Peoria. “Additionally, Bell Road serves as a gateway to the Peoria Sports Complex which experiences high traffic demands during the spring training season. The city is committed to improving traffic flow in the area for both businesses and residents that utilize this busy corridor.”
Adaptive Signal Control Technology automatically adjusts the timing of the green lights at intersections to accommodate for changing traffic patterns. The technology does this by receiving and processing real-time traffic data from strategically placed sensors which allow the system to determine the length of time lights should be green in order to improve traffic flow and reduce the amount of delay drivers experience on the roadway. The system is also optimizing the signal sequences as it is utilizing the most efficient signal sequence for the current traffic conditions. It will not be uncommon for a left-turn to have a green before and after a corresponding through before the side street receives a green. The system by design is picking these dynamic sequences in hopes of reducing as much delay as possible.
About the Bell Road Adaptive Signal Project
The Bell Road Adaptive Signal Project is a pilot project consisting of four smaller projects that aims to improve the overall traffic flow efficiency and safety on Bell Road by providing coordination across jurisdictions, mitigating effects of congestion, and improving operations at interchanges and ramps. The project requires the installation of adaptive signal control technology at 50 intersections along 16 miles of roadway. The project is separated into four project areas that center along Bell Road’s freeway interchanges. Project partners include the Maricopa County Department of Transportation, the cities of Surprise, Peoria, Glendale, Phoenix and Scottsdale and the Arizona Department of Transportation. The Bell Road Adaptive Signal Project is one of the longest adaptive signal projects in the nation.