City looks to improve traffic through Intelligent Transportation System

Cesar Romo, traffic signal system administrator with the city of Santa Clarita, looks at multiple screens that overlook main intersections in real time at the city's Traffic Center Control on Nov. 6, 2018. Tammy Murga/ The Signal

The City Council recently approved the final step in a citywide program aimed at improving the traffic system in Santa Clarita through advanced technology.   

In its Dec. 11 regular meeting, they awarded a design contract to Kimley-Horn and Associates Inc. for phase six of the Intelligent Transportation System.

ITS is a seven-step master plan adopted in the early 2000s to improve signal communications for major arterial roadways, ultimately bettering mobility. To date, the city has been awarded four grants totaling nearly $20.3 million from Metro’s Call for Projects, and other local, state and federal funds.

Phase VI funds total $1.9 million, according to the city.

By receiving the green light on this step, the city will be able to accomplish three major components, said Cesar Romo, traffic signal system administrator.

Additional fiber optics
“The fiber optic communications gap closure will allow us to connect segments on Bouquet Canyon Road, Decoro Drive and Wiley Canyon Road,” said Romo.

Through a larger system of communication, staff and engineers will be able to better monitor data patterns and create more redundancy to its system.  

New signal synchronization

The city currently runs signal light cycles at 132 seconds, but having the same time for all lights may affect and worsen traffic congestion. The goal is to re-time all of its more than 100 total signals located within city limits, said Romo.

“We currently have vehicle volumes of about 90,000 cars per day on busy intersections,” he said. “We want to work on synchronizing to help reduce delays and to have a much better flow of traffic, giving more green lights as possible.”

“We will collect data, prepare it and evaluate it to know whether we need to increase time or not at signal lights,” he added.

The project will aim to synchronize signals along 19 corridors at 148 intersections to enhance the system’s performance during peak recurring congestion periods, as well as provide real-time data to the city’s Traffic Operation Center located at City Hall, according to the city.

Installation of advanced system detection
System detection stations will collect data 24 hours a day, seven days a week to help engineers better understand traffic patterns, said Romo.

“We will know all the different patterns that happen throughout a day, including morning and evening peak hours, weekends and even when school is in and out of session,” he added.

There will be 12 stations installed, with three along Lyons Avenue and nine along Soledad Canyon Road.

With a completed ITS program, the city will look into the latest technology such as connected vehicle technology, which enables cars, buses and trucks to exchange information with infrastructure, like traffic signals.

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About the author

Tammy Murga

Tammy Murga

Tammy Murga covers city hall and business for The Signal. She joined in the summer of 2018, previously working in Northern California as an assistant editor and reporter for the Lake County Record-Bee. In 2016, she graduated from Mount Saint Mary's University, Los Angeles. Have a story tip? Message her on Twitter or at tmurga@signalscv.com.