Getting Smart About Traffic Flow

Getty Images / Scott Olson

New Haven is getting smart about traffic.  A new set of smart traffic lights are being installed at several downtown intersections to improve the flow of cars and make it safer for bicycles.

We've all been there, waiting at what feels like an eternal red light. To make things more frustrating there’s no traffic using the green light!

New Haven took note and its changing things. Bijan Notghi, the city’s traffic engineer says the lights at all the intersections near the future Gateway Community College are getting smarter with high tech cameras, “when there is no demand then the light wont change a soon as there is demand then traffic signal realizes somebody is sitting there and changes the light,” said Notghi.

Jordan Ratliff who lives and goes to school in New Haven says the change will improve the city's quality of life, “I feel that if you’re stuck at a red light and need to go someplace the red light just holds up time and that’s your time you’re wasting at the light.”

The new cameras are coming to every intersection on Church Street between South Frontage and Crown, plus several more along Temple and College Streets.  But the upgrades don’t stop there. New Haven is gaining ground on the race to safely integrate bikes into traffic.

Aside from the bike lanes, the city plans to paint bike boxes at the intersections getting cameras. The boxes will be in front of the cars, bringing cyclists out from the back or side of cars. And those cameras will be able to detect bikers too.

“So if you are the bicyclist you will come to the area designated for bikes and you get the right of way for the traffic lights,” explains Notghi.

The city hopes to finish painting the bike boxes and installing the cameras by the time construction of the new schools buildings is completed.

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