Yosemite 'smart' traffic signal project finally here

Multijurisdictional project to improve corridor traffic

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South metro residents may start to find their commutes home are quicker these days.

The cities of Lone Tree, Centennial and Greenwood Village finished the installation of new “smart” traffic signals at 42 intersections along Yosemite Street last month, capping a milestone project to improve traffic congestion.

“Reducing traffic remains a top priority for our community, and road congestion does not recognize city borders,” Lone Tree Mayor Jackie Millet said in an Oct. 14 news release. “This innovative partnership with our municipal neighbors provides a regional solution that improves traffic flow along the entire Denver South corridor and increases the efficiency of our existing road network.”

The project is the first multijurisdictional traffic signal project in the region, according to the release.

The adaptive traffic signal system coordinates stoplights along Yosemite from Lincoln Avenue in Lone Tree to Belleview Avenue in Greenwood Village. The system collects traffic data at an intersection using cameras and in-ground wireless sensors, which connects to an access point attached to the pole. The signals along the Yosemite corridor adjust in real time to optimize traffic flow.

“Improving the safety and efficiency of our roadways, while improving the flow of traffic, are shared challenges among the cities of the south metro Denver area,” Centennial Mayor Stephanie Piko said. “This regional effort will ultimately result in enabling technology to improve traffic flow to keep our cities working for our residents.”

City public works departments, including Lone Tree and Centennial, already use closed-circuit TV cameras to manually adjust signals based on data collected from traffic incidents.

The project began as a pilot program, which finished in 2019, called “Project Mercury.” Installation began early this year.

The multijurisdictional idea to provide smart traffic signal technology dates back to 2017.

Lone Tree contracted with Alpine Signal, LLC for more than $1 million to install equipment at 21 intersections along Yosemite.

Centennial has budgeted $6 million for its Intelligent Transportation System, which includes the adaptive signal project at 20 intersections.

All three cities used the same central software. Lone Tree uses Trafficware technology and Centennial and Greenwood Village use Centracs.

The project was borne out of the area's worsening traffic problem. Rather than add more lanes for traffic to move through, the cities chose to experiment with the “smart city” technology.

“Smart city” technology describes devices that collect data to adjust automatically and accordingly to certain situations. More data translates to more accurate signal timings, so every time a person drives down Yosemite Street now, the more efficient a driver's commute time.

Smart city technology can be installed in streetlights and can be used to identify the best place to put a particular development.

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