New high tech system will better sync lights on Herndon Avenue

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Federal funding and a high tech system will make the drive down Herndon from Highway 99 to Willow Avenue faster and more efficient. (KFSN)

About 50,000 cars travel down Herndon Avenue each day.

Ten years ago, the lights were synchronized, but if there was an accident or traffic jam, the system didn't automatically adjust.

But soon, it will.

Federal funding and a high tech system will make the drive down Herndon from Highway 99 to Willow Avenue faster and more efficient.

"It's a much smarter system than what we had in place before," said Public Works Director, Scott Mozier

A decade ago the signals on Herndon were initially synchronized, and it shaved about 5 minutes off the average commute. The latest system should reduce drive times even more.

"This one will add an additional 15 percent so it will save several more minutes in commuting from one end to the other," said John Stanboulian, who works in the Traffic Operations Center.

The system has already been proven effective on Shaw Avenue between Highway 41 and Highway 168. It's been in operation for about a year and works well adjusting to things like traffic at the Save Mart Center and Fashion Fair.

The benefits are more than less time in the car.

"Less delay turns into shorter travel time, and improvements in air quality because we have less emissions from vehicles just sitting idling at red lights," said Mozier.

The traffic system currently in use along Herndon is preset and static based on old traffic patterns and car counts, so any kinks along the route don't automatically adjust the system.

"It was fixed on that timing plan, so on some days, traffic is busier at a certain intersection. One may be a left turn movement, a thru movement has more traffic. The system today is not adapting to those ups and downs. The new one would," said Mozier.

For the next six to nine months the fiber optic system will be set up, and the components will be put in place. The computers will be ready to compute and calculate traffic problems not based on guesses, but up to the minute conditions.

"This system actually in real time, based on sensors in the ground will monitor whose going where and based on those patterns will actually synchronize the corridor," said Stanboulian.

The new technology should be installed and ready by next summer.
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