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Traffic signals

is there a specific angency or organization to report slow or poorly timed traffic signals ie. red lights that in my opinion contribute to excessive fuel consumption and emmissions?

You will probably find someone to take a report,but then who knows where it goes.Major accidents occur at uncontrolled or poorly controlled intersections and it takes years to get a signal change,you want it to happen over poor mpg?

It is handled by local authorities, likely with the word traffic in their name. Check with your city or county authorities or try looking at the poles and control boxes as they may have a contact number or address.

Don’t expect much. Traffic controls are a science and an art. Except for the unusual case, they are not likely to make any adjustments other than to assure they are working as programmed.

You do bring up a good point however. But making the timing more efficient while not sacrificing any safety, is not easy.

Good Luck

Thats just the point! There is one in particular that is not programmed properly at all and it’s been malfunctioning for some time now. I’m getting fairly P.Oed! I mean this signal is located on a major route of four lanes & a single side street and even during rush hour this light will change for no reason backing traffic of hundreds of cars! I understand there maybe flow issues but am fairly sure this is not the case.

Some of the best traffic flow around some troublesome intersections,seem occur when the power goes out and the signals stop functioning. You wonder why they ever put one in there to begin with, instead of a yield sign.
Would like to think that some are on timers for rush hour and weekend variations.

LA is doing just that on surface streets.Try the city web site,traffic engineering department page for information&motivation reasons.

Ground moisture can cause the sensors to misread the traffic. Maybe you can notice that the problem is more likely after the ground or water saturated or dry. Then let them know what you have noticed.

What Im interested in is a watch dog organization that can hold overpaid engineers accountable. Maybe some environmental group!! They’ll find the engineer and picket his house!!!

O.K. I was pondering my peve today and decided I’m just in a hurry to get wherever I’m going, but that does’nt diminish the the need for some oversight!

My late father, a traffic engineer, would take initiative in cases like this. He knew who to contact. He would even report it if the lane markers and barricades in construction zones had the stripes facing the wrong way! I recently found myself calling my local city Govt. to report a long red light, and it was fixed the next day.

The problem with traffic light timing is that when the power goes out, they sometimes switch to a default mode until they are reprogrammed. If you don’t report a long light, it might never get fixed. Most cities use either sensors or timing. It is kind of hard to integrate both sensors and timing to keep the traffic flowing, but some cities are able to do this. Some cities even have a camera system that they can use to adjust the timing for particular conditions. My city, however, decided that camera system was too expensive. I understand your frustration.

Sometimes if there is a motorcycle at the front of the line it doesn’t have enough metal close to the ground to activate the sensor.

If you don’t find satisfaction with your local municipal Govt. try contacting your state Department of Transportation.

Call the local police and tell them about it. If they can’t help you, maybe they can give you another local government official to call. You may need to make 3 or 4 calls, but you will eventually land in the right spot.

Very informative,thanks.

You could also, you know, turn off the car if you’re at a red light if you’re concerned about fuel consumption and emissions.

If it’s in your own locality then you can also contact your alderman, trustee, city father etc. or the mayor’s office if you don’t get action. These people are elected so they need your vote.

There are several reasons why lights are red longer than seems necessary:

  1. The light is fixed-time, because the government has no funds to build a better installation. It’s timing must be able to handle all traffic levels at any time of day.

  2. The sensors are broken.

  3. The light is set to not interrupt traffic until 3 cars are waiting. This saves gasoline for the cars on the busier street. (Note that stopping an already moving car wastes a lot more gas than remaining stopped does).

  4. The lights are in a coordinated system, providing a wave of green lights to traffic on the major street. Using sensors on these lights destroys the coordination. The green wave saves a lot more gas.

  5. The light is being used to meter the amount of traffic allowed into a given area. This prevents backups, which waste even more fuel.

  6. The other road is a high-speed road. It is dangerous to change a signal when high speed cars are in a certain range of distances from the stop line.

  7. You arrived just after the trip point in the coordinated cycle passed. This means you have to wait for the next trip point, an entire cycle later.

Also note that almost all states now have a law that a dark signal (e.g. during a power failure) is an all-way stop.

Your state’s Highway Department. Or perhaps your town’s Road Agent. Good luck.