Springfield, Mo. traffic engineers changing traffic light timing to ease congestion

Published: Nov. 20, 2019 at 5:30 PM CST
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If you feel like you're sitting at stoplights in Springfield a little longer than usual, you're not crazy. The city's traffic engineers are changing the timing of the lights based on the time of day and traffic patterns.

Driver Dave Kimmerle knows rush-hour is unavoidable.

"That's usually when I have to get on the road, so it is what it is," he said.

When Kimmerle clocks out for the day he has to drive from the east side of Springfield all the way to the west side. His entire drive takes between 20 and 30 minutes.

Kimmerle's not alone, the city knows a majority of drivers use Sunshine, National, and Kansas Expressway to get across town.

"It's been a lot busier than it seems to have been in prior years," Kimmerle said. "There's just a lot of traffic."

Springfield traffic engineer Jason Saliba told me drivers call their office about once a week to complain about the back-ups.

"We need to know about these things to fix them," he said.

Engineers are constantly watching traffic through cameras installed on stop lights. Their goal is to make things run smoother.

"When people are generally heading to work we will coordinate traffic lights to generally handle that flow to the center of the city better," said Saliba. "Around lunch time it evens out so it's a good bidirectional split as far as like how far people can go without hitting a red light."

At the end of the day engineers coordinate lights for people leaving work and heading home. Still, they need drivers to pay attention for the system to work as designed.

"If you're waiting at a red light be sure to watch the signal when the light turns green so you don't waste any time," said Saliba. "Every second that you're not paying attention, that's another second that a person behind you has to wait and then when there's 50 people in a line that really starts to add up."

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