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Traffic signal timing fueling frustration among drivers

yellow light AP
Posted at 5:00 AM, Nov 17, 2021
and last updated 2021-11-17 08:46:26-05

Impatience often leads to poor driver behavior.

The Operation Safe Roads hotline received a handful of requests, like this one from David. The Valley driver wrote, "If the city's traffic engineers really wanted to help improving traffic flow, they could time signals on every street."

"You hit every red light," West Valley resident Elliott Freireich exclaimed. "...You drive the speed limit in time to hit each red light from Indian School down to the freeway."

INTERACTIVE MAP: Red-light running crashes in Arizona

There is the concern with how frustration can be fueling drivers to accelerate through red lights when they shouldn't.

Freireich is honest enough to admit, he is one of them.

"If I miss six lights and the seventh one turns yellow, I'm not stopping," Freireich said.

ABC15 reached out to Goodyear officials who told her, after talking with Freireich, they have traffic engineers manually resetting the timer at a problem intersection twice a week to ensure consistency, and new technology will be added during the first part of next year. 

In Phoenix, city traffic engineers say they monitor a variety of factors including the speed limit — not the speed cars are traveling — and traffic volumes. 

"Now, we take the software and optimize the bandwidths for it to favor both directions," explained Traffic Management Operations Engineer Simon Ramos.

Collecting and investigating data for each intersection, as well as optimizing 10 to 15 intersections together, takes about three to five months.

Ramos said they will investigate intersections as soon as they get a complaint from a commuter. 

Freireich does not mind letting the city know if it means drivers would be more inclined to make safer decisions.

To reach out to the city of Phoenix about traffic signal timing, drivers can email phxtmc@phoenix.gov or call 602-534-5185 with the location, the time of travel, and the direction of travel. 

To reach out to the city of Goodyear about traffic signal timing, click here to report a problem or call 623-932-3004, option 5. 

Have a road issue or a question for the Operation Safe Roads team to investigate? Drivers can email roads@abc15.com or call 833-AZ-ROADS.