Traffic lights

Wednesday, November 28, 2007

City and state officials are working on traffic signals, tweaking lights to make them more efficient and more responsive to traffic demands, especially for holiday shoppers and travelers.

There have been a number of complaints recently about poor timing of traffic lights. Those who maintain the lights give a number of reasons for quirky delays at traffic lights. Sometimes lights malfunction. Sometimes pedestrian buttons break. And sometimes drivers don't pull forward enough to trip the lights' sensors. All these can cause minor meltdowns in the system.

A traffic light engineer said recently that controllers are connected to a master controller to allow a smooth flow of traffic. But many variables, including speed, make timing tough to predict.

Another variable, and one area of concern, is that the city and the Missouri Department of Transportation operate the various signals, depending whether they're on a city street or state highway. This requires communication between the two government bodies to regulate traffic flow. This isn't the most efficient way of moving a city's commuters, but it is the system we have.

These state and city officials work for us, and they say they'll listen to complaints about traffic flow. If you see an intersection where the lights aren't working as well as they should, you can call MoDOT at 888-275-6636 or the city at 334-9151.

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