Traffic Light Sync Project in Washoe County

By: Staff Email
By: Staff Email
Traffic light with red, yellow and green lights

Traffic light with red, yellow and green lights

“You may be sitting, waiting two three minutes going any one direction depending on where you're coming from" - Richard Franklin, Driver

RENO, Nev. – One of the most common complaints of drivers in the Reno/Sparks are centers around stoplights.

There are concerns the lights slow the flow of traffic and some of the red lights are just too long.

Richard Franklin says “You may be sitting, waiting two three minutes going any one direction depending on where you're coming from.”

Traffic engineers from RTC, Washoe County, Sparks and Reno are working together to improve traffic signal coordination and keep things moving.

“What we try to do is coordinate the traffic signals so they come on with the traffic flow, whatever the traffic flow is on a particular road, we try to turn the next traffic signal on before the car gets there, and if it was a one way street, that would be relatively simple,” said Jim Post from the RTC.

Poston says, most streets aren't single direction traffic, so they have to figure out how much time to allow for cross traffic and pedestrians.

“Pedestrians take a long time to get across the street, they go a lot slower than cars and we have to allow for that time,” Poston adds.

Traffic engineers we spoke to agree more can be done to improve traffic flow. A project to synchronize more than 350 traffic signals in Washoe County is about two-thirds complete.

They tell us the Virginia Street Corridor project is complete.

RTC has video on their website showing how improved the traffic flow is, in case anyone doubts the progress being made. In each case the RTC says the re-timing of lights saved drivers at least a minute.
That one minute adds up helping save the environment, according to engineers.

Even if you sitting at a long light, engineers wants you to remember the best timed lights will still struggle with large traffic flow. Pyramid & McCarran are frequently backed up.

According to Poston, “There's not a lot we can do with traffic signal timing to fix that. There is some plans underway at the RTC on improving that intersection, rebuilding it, making it wider that will improve that intersection and probably solve that problem.”

The last phase of the signal synchronization will be finished this summer in Spanish Springs, Sun Valley, along Rock Boulevard and the South Meadows.

If you have a complaint about an intersection call 355-ROAD to report a problem.

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