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Traffic signal upgrades to enhance reliability, flexibility

January 30, 2014

Signal Box

The City of Johns Creek will soon kick off a nine-month program to make the 66 traffic signals in the city smarter and more reliable.

"The key word is reliability," said Public Works Director Tom Black. "We want to ensure that no matter what time of day it is or what day of the week it is or what the weather is, traffic signals in Johns Creek are operating as optimally as possible."

As part of its Intelligent Traffic System, the City's Public Works Department plans to install new technology that allows each signal light to gauge the flow of traffic at its location, and choose a timing program appropriate to the level of traffic. The technology will tie into a master computer at City Hall where traffic technicians monitor overall traffic patterns.

The program also includes sophisticated surge protectors and batteries to ensure that traffic signals continue to operate dependably in foul weather. Power surges stress the traffic signal's electronics, which then default to a flashing signal until they're repaired or re-set. The surge protector and battery system, called Uninterruptible Power Supply, evens out the ebb and flow of electrical power, and provides an alternative supply if electricity fails altogether. That way, if power goes out in a storm, the traffic signals will still function for hours until power is restored.

Surges currently damage four to six signal lights a week at a cost of $400 to $2,700 for each signal. The price tag is even higher when the cost of labor to fix the signal is factored in.

Installation is expected to begin in March and be finished by the end of the year.r.