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Posted on: November 1, 2016

Puyallup’s Adaptive Signal System Earns WSDOT Award of Excellence

The Washington State Department of Transportation (WSDOT) has named the City of Puyallup’s Adaptive Signal System as the winner of its 2016 Award of Excellence for Best Special Project.

This project implemented adaptive signal control technology at seventeen intersections on Meridian from River Road to 23rd Avenue SE and on the “bypass” (3rd Street SE and 2nd Street NE) from Meridian to River Road.

The adaptive signal system improves traffic flow by adjusting signal timings based on demand. The system monitors traffic volume and uses real-time data to respond to current traffic conditions. As it evaluates the data, the system continually adjusts the signals based on the most efficient way of allowing traffic to proceed. In this way, the system maximizes the capacity of the existing street infrastructure by keeping more vehicles in motion with as few stops as possible.

The system is able to recognize disruptions due to train traffic, special events and other temporary conditions, and responds by changing signal timings in order to recover optimum flow. Because it registers congestion and flow differences in various parts of the network, it appropriately reacts in each section as needed.

Data collected thus far shows that travel times have improved in Puyallup’s downtown since the system was implemented. Reducing travel times has the added benefit of improving air quality by limiting emissions, which increase in conjunction with vehicle stops and delays.

Representatives from WSDOT’s Olympic Region Local Programs division will present the award to the city at the Puyallup City Council meeting scheduled for November 15, 2016.

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