City of Seattle

Ed Murray, Mayor


SUBJECT:   Mayor McGinn advances work toward adaptive traffic signal system
3/13/2013  2:00:00 PM

Mayor McGinn advances work toward adaptive traffic signal system
Firm selected to study implementation, study called for in SDOT Transportation Action Agenda

SEATTLE - Mayor Mike McGinn today announced that the Seattle Department of Transportation (SDOT) had retained the transportation firm Transpo to conduct a study toward implementing an adaptive traffic signal system in Seattle. Transpo's work will help the City move forward on deploying this advanced system, where a corridor's signals respond immediately and independently to changing traffic flows, as well as enhance signal synchronization and real-time signage, and increase public access to construction information and traffic conditions. 

"We are working hard to help everyone get where they are going safely and smoothly," said McGinn. "That's why we are looking at upgrading our traffic signal system so that traffic flows more efficiently, which benefits all users of our roadways. I thank SDOT Director Peter Hahn for his development of the Access Seattle strategy and his implementation of the Transportation Action Agenda."

The study is part of SDOT's Access Seattle agenda, first launched by the mayor and SDOT in February 2013 and previously highlighted in the State of the City address to the City Council.
The City identified the need for adaptive traffic control as part of its March 2010 SDOT Intelligent Transportation System (ITS) Strategic Plan. Please follow the link to view graphics.

The study will identify projects to mitigate construction impacts, help plan adaptive signal control, upgrade the Traffic Management Center and provide a road map for implementation of recommended improvements. Covered through existing funds, it will cost approximately $300,000 and the City expects the study's results by the third quarter of 2013.  While the total cost for implementation of the road map will not be known until later this year, the City is planning to reprogram savings from the Spokane Street Viaduct project completed in 2012 to implement road map recommendations.  In addition, $500,000 of appropriation will be requested to enable initial design work on road map recommendations, so that work can begin as soon as possible.

Accomplishments and highlights of the Transportation Action Agenda, first launched in 2012, include:

  • High Capacity Transit (HCT) - The City is working to speed up the timeframe for two key transit planning projects identified in the Transit Master Plan. The first is an analysis of potential Ship Canal crossings for rail, bicycle and pedestrian use from Ballard to neighborhoods south of the Canal, and the second project is planning for the Eastlake HCT corridor connecting downtown to the University District. The mayor will submit to the City Council a supplemental budget request to fund these studies.
  • Access Seattle - To help SDOT share information with the public and to better coordinate growth and new projects, the department is creating Access Seattle. The project includes technology improvements to help better manage transportation infrastructure (for example, real-time signage and signal systems upgrades) and increased public access to construction information and traffic conditions.
  • Cycle Tracks and Neighborhood Greenways - SDOT has begun construction on the Linden Avenue cycle track and construction on the Broadway cycle track will begin soon. Neighborhood greenways are being developed in Ballard, Beacon Hill, and Delridge. The department is planning more cycle tracks and neighborhood greenways across Seattle and, as a part of the Bicycle Master Plan update, will recommend cycle tracks on a network of city streets, including streets in downtown.
  • Waterfront Seattle - These Central Waterfront projects open new public space for parks and paths, access to the water, places to enjoy views, and a new urban street for all modes of travel. In 2013, we will review alternative design options and look for ways to reduce costs.
  • Mercer Corridor West Phase - SDOT will begin work on the West Phase in March 2013, which will complete the two-way Mercer Street connection between I-5 and Elliott Avenue West.
  • Freight Planning - Recognizing the significance of the freight community in helping sustain and stimulate Seattle's economic growth and long-term competitiveness, in 2013 SDOT will begin work on the Industrial Areas Freight Access Project and the Freight Master Plan.

Released in March 2012, the Transportation Action Agenda outlined policies, actions and performance measures for SDOT over a two-year period. Organized around the same five core principles, the progress report provides an update on SDOT's work to meet its Action Agenda commitments. Accomplishments from the past year include:

  • Keeping it Safe - developed a Road Safety Action Plan and launched the Be Super Safe campaign; installed 25 pedestrian countdown signals; and distributed 58,350 Winter Weather Plan brochures and revised the plan for easier use.
  • Focusing on the Basics - filled over 18,000 potholes; paved 21 lane-miles, including significant portions of North/Northwest 85th Street, Greenwood Avenue North and Northeast Ravenna Boulevard; and replaced street name signs at 1,584 intersections.
  • Building Healthy Communities - constructed the first neighborhood greenways (residential streets prioritized for people who walk and ride bikes); built 157 curb ramps; and completed speed and reliability improvements on bus Route 44 from the University District to Ballard.
  • Supporting a Thriving Economy - secured levy funding to rebuild the Elliott Bay Seawall; upgraded on-street parking signs to help drivers find parking faster and easier; and began seismic and system upgrades, and passenger waiting area restoration at King Street Station.
  • Providing Great Service - built nine Neighborhood Street Fund projects; secured over $57 million in grant funding; and met Bridging the Gap funding package goals and outcomes.

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