How it works
It can be frustrating to drive through our neighborhoods and have to stop at every single red light along the way. It seems counterintuitive. All the lights should be in sync, right?
Q: How do I get a series of red lights timed properly on my street?
A: Go ahead — submit a request via 311; the answer may be complicated.
Dealing with a traffic light issue that involves multiple intersections is costly and time-consuming. “These are pretty large jobs,” says Van Cook, traffic-engineering assistant in the city’s transportation department. “It’s not an easy business to do.” Usually, funds come from the North Texas Council of Governments, the federal government or bond packages. Every situation is different, but here’s how it works: Most lights in the city have the same signal cycle, which helps establish a relationship among them to create a smooth and harmonious traffic flow. When studying a particular area, engineers count the cars and put them into a model that promotes progression. They recently completed one such project on Preston from Northwest Highway all the way north past LBJ. “That area has recently been done within the last few years,” Cook says. “So, there shouldn’t be any issues there.” The timing of lights corresponds with rush hour to move cars in and out of Downtown efficiently. So, those traveling during non-peak times may not have as smooth a ride, oddly enough. “It’s not physically possible to provide a perfect traffic flow in both directions at all times. That’s why we like one-way roads. We could do a lot more with one-way roads.” Still, calling 311 is a good starting point. Your streetlights might already be undergoing improvements, or they could be considered for future projects.