Final tweaks in new Center Street configuration to bring green wave of traffic signals to motorists


KINGSPORT – Kingsports Traffic Division is preparing the final tweaks to the newly reconfigured Center Street, with a green wave of traffic signal timings expected to improve traffic flows by 26-28 percent at peak times.

With the new configuration, we have been working to gather the data necessary to accurately model peak traffic flows and develop a traffic signal timing scheme that better accommodates peak flow, Assistant City Manager for Operations Ryan McReynolds said Monday. Keeping in mind that the average time to transit from Center and Fort Henry to Center and Sullivan Street is about 3.5 minutes, were talking about small increments. But based on the modeling we have seen to date, this should be a noticeable improvement.

The new signal timing scheme is designed to provide a green wave of signal lights in series at times of heavier traffic movements, effectively a staggered changing of lights from red to green that are weighted towards allowing a larger group of cars to travel from one end of Center to the other without being interrupted by a red light.

Presently, all signals turn at the same time, McReynolds said. We are implementing a plan this week that will aid motorists moving with the flow of the heavier traffic movements. There will be a staggered changing of lights that benefit the direction they are going in.‚  In the morning, the eastbound traveler will be given more time to make it through downtown.‚  In the evening, the westbound traveler will be given more time.‚  This plan will result in a 28% improvement in morning travel efficiency and a 26% improvement in the evening, according to the modeling data.

The green wave should go into effect Tuesday, with Traffic Division personnel monitoring the changes to look for continuous opportunities for improvement.

We believe the overall configuration is safer, more inviting and meets the needs of downtown business owners, pedestrians, bicyclists and the general motoring public alike, McReynolds said. But this is not just a ‚¬set it and forget it signal timing scheme. We will continue to monitor the data and make changes as conditions warrant.