Sugar Land’s new responsive signal system is the first in the region that enables traffic signals to automatically respond to real-time traffic conditions.
“Smart” technology enables the system to intuitively adjust traffic signals along State Highway 6, Williams Trace, Sweetwater and U.S. Highway 90A. Sensors installed along these critical corridors gather traffic volumes and transmit the data to signals that are pre-programmed with timing plans that accommodate various traffic conditions.
The system is monitored at the City’s Traffic Management Center, where additional signal updates can be made if needed.
Unlike traditional intersections in the region that still utilize pre-set patterns based on historic data, Sugar Land’s responsive signal system handles traffic congestion based on current conditions.
The dynamic system now utilized in Sugar Land will extend or shorten the time certain plans are needed and even select appropriate plans for unexpected traffic incidents or reoccurring special events like holiday shopping traffic.
“I love driving down Highway 6 at the speed limit and being able to go from U.S. 59 to Dulles/Austin Parkway without stopping,” said Sugar Land resident Doug Earle. “That is joyful.”
The Traffic Responsive Signal System is part of the City’s five-year Intelligent Transportation System Operations Plan, a project initiated in 2009 with a retiming effort along State Highway 6. Signal plans were programmed along identified corridors, sensors were added and the City’s wireless system was upgraded to ensure data feeds to Sugar Land’s Traffic Management Center.
After an evaluation period that began in January, the system was placed into full service in July. The system will be expanded to Dulles Avenue in the future and possibly Eldridge Road and West Airport.
Sugar Land’s efforts to improve mobility – including responsive signals, flashing yellow arrows and other initiatives – continue to receive positive feedback from residents.