Fact Finders: The white boxes hanging near traffic lights in Springfield, Mo.

“Are those things on traffic lights collecting information on us?”
Published: Apr. 6, 2022 at 9:28 PM CDT|Updated: Apr. 7, 2022 at 7:29 AM CDT
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SPRINGFIELD, Mo. (KY3) - The city of Springfield is installing more and more devices near traffic lights. The white boxes have a couple of our viewers wondering; “Are those things on traffic lights collecting information on us?”

There are two kinds of sensors at traffic signals. The flat white boxes mounted at intersections detect the presence of a vehicle. They’re also known as “stop boxes.” They function like the old induction loops or sensors buried in the concrete near a light letting the traffic signal know a vehicle is waiting there.

Then, there are the wavy style boxes. They detect cars approaching the intersection from as far back as 500-feet. When those see you they can keep the light green for a couple of extra seconds. That gives you time to make the light.

The devices are not used for law enforcement purposes.

“These are just radar units, that would be picking up the presence of the moving vehicle that’s approaching the intersection. So the information is just tied to the traffic signal system, it’s in no way being used for enforcement. The data that we’re collecting from that is traffic or traffic counts,” explained city of Springfield Traffic Engineer Tom Dancey.

Between the two different types of systems, the city has about 60 of these sensors installed at various intersections. 33 more are planned (see chart below). The idea is to cut down on your wait, reduce accidents and save you gas with the technology.

As for the viewer’s concern; Are those things on traffic lights collecting information on us? They are collecting traffic counts. They are not collecting your plate number, your photo, or other personal information. So., we’re going to slide this to NO.

Radar Traffic Detection Locations
Radar Traffic Detection Locations(Paul Adler, KY3)

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