ITS Speeds Travel Times in Hoo-Ville

John Yellig with the Charlottesville Daily Progress describes the Intelligent Transportation System (ITS) center in Hoo-ville, which times the traffic lights on three major corridors: West Main Street, Emmet Street and Preston Avenue.

Motorists can now drive from Jefferson Park Avenue to Ridge Street on West Main without stopping for a light, and maximum travel times on that stretch have been cut from 15 minutes to 3 minutes, 18 seconds, he said.

“So often we get stuck thinking what road we’re going to build next or what $20 million project we’re going to build,” said City Councilor Kevin Lynch, a supporter of the project. “It’s something that I think is positive news … that things are going to get better.”

The project has cost about $850,000 so far. The estimated
build-out cost stands at around $2 million, Randall said.

If Virginia rated transportation projects on a Return on Investment basis — travel times improved per dollar spent — I suspect that traffic light synchronization projects like Charlottesville’s would out-perform most road construction projects by a wide margin. Why doesn’t the General Assembly insist upon putting ITS on an equal footing with expensive road and transit projects? Beats the heck out of me.


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2 responses to “ITS Speeds Travel Times in Hoo-Ville”

  1. Ray Hyde Avatar

    That’s great news. Apparently the systems have improved since my days on Oleander Drive in Wilmington NC.

    You could drive the whole stretch of Oleander without hitting a light, provided you didn’t go over 35. One day I got a ticket for running a red light on that stretch. It was totally bogus because you never had to hit a light red, once you got the first one green.

    What was really annoying was to have a few cars pass you at forty-five. Then they would have to stop at the light, and sice they had to now start up from zero, the delay meant you usually had to stop, even if you arrived when the light was green.

    Technology can’t make up for stupidity. That is one area where Metro appears to win, hands down.

  2. Anonymous Avatar
    Anonymous

    It cost $2 million to do one urban street, so imagine what the cost would be to implement such a system in Richmond, Roanoke, Lynchburg, etc. Would it save money over all? Sure. But we can’t do it, can’t afford to do it fully, short of a decision to build absolutely nothing, which isn’t viable. Even the good ideas are not free, and with the rising price of materials and the shrinking motor fuel tax collections (down 3.3 percent in March) the system approaches bankruptcy.

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