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Adaptive Traffic Control

York County

Project at a Glance

Begin Date
Summer 2012

Est Completion Date
Summer 2012


Sal Sibilia, Eastern Region Operations and Maintenance Manager

About the Project

This is a project to install new technology to control ten traffic control signals along George Washington Memorial Highway (Route 17) in York County between Ella Taylor Road and Freedom Boulevard (Route 634). The new technology, known as InSync, changes the signal indications based on real-time vehicle demand. The goal is for motorists to spend less time waiting at red lights and to facilitate smoother traffic flow along the corridor. 

The signals are scheduled to change over to the InSync adaptive traffic control technology on Friday, July 13. Motorists traveling on George Washington Memorial Highway can expect fewer stops at traffic signals in both directions between Ella Taylor Road and Freedom Boulevard, while motorists turning onto George Washington Memorial Highway from side streets can expect shorter delays for traffic signals to turn green. 

How the System Works

Video detection at each signalized intersection is used in conjunction with loop detection to detect and count the number of vehicles on both the main street (Route 17) and on side streets. The traffic signals are linked together with wireless broadband radio communications, allowing them to "talk" with each other and to relay the real-time information needed to control the movement of vehicles along the signalized corridor. A computer processor at each intersection uses the traffic information to develop signal timings that allow main street traffic to catch multiple green signal indications without stopping along the corridor, and at the same time limit and reduce the amount of time motorists spend waiting on the side street. This new technology, known as InSync, allows traffic signals to adapt in real-time to continuously changing traffic demand rather than only using historical traffic data to establish preset timing and coordination plans. The signals will continue to be coordinated along the corridor, but the system efficiency will now be maximized by adapting time allotted to each movement as well as managing which movement should be serviced next to maximize progression of traffic in real time. 

What Motorists Can Expect

Motorists traveling on Route 17 can expect a smoother commute in both directions between Ella Taylor Road and Freedom Boulevard (Route 634) with fewer stops at traffic signals. Motorists turning onto Route 17 from side streets can expect shorter delays waiting for traffic signals to turn green. The new technology is a step forward to easing congestion and spending less time in traffic, which results in lower vehicle emissions, less fuel consumption, and less driver frustration. These improved system efficiencies will be most noticeable for motorists traveling on Route 17 during peak travel times and the side streets during off-peak hours. 

VDOT will conduct before and after studies and continue to evaluate and adjust the adaptive control signal system over the next few weeks. 

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Page last modified: Oct. 14, 2012