Oklahoma City has two projects that could make your trip to and from work safer and possibly faster. The larger of the two projects is in its first year of a five-year implementation process. Dennis Haikin, the projects manager, said that Oklahoma City will be spending $12 million to install an Intelligent Transportation Systems program. The ITS program will tie every traffic signal in Oklahoma City together on a wireless network.

The 2007 bond issue that was passed to hard-wire signals at 300 intersections is where the funding for these projects is coming from. City officials discovered that they could wirelessly link all 734 intersections for the same price, which is how this project came into play.

The Intelligent Transportation System is designed to allow controllers to communicate with every signal on the network, which will help to detect traffic volumes and traffic problems faster. This project will help create more reliable transportation corridors to synchronize the traffic signals on major city roads. The goal that city officials hope to obtain is to reduce every driver’s trip by about 5 percent. Project manager, Haikin, said, “If everybody is saving a couple of minutes per day, you can see how that adds up quickly. It accumulates.” This project will be a wonderful addition to Oklahoma City because it will not only help with travel time, but also air pollution and fuel consumption.

Before the ITS project got underway, the additional project ended in late 2010. This project placed louvers on signals at central intersections. The objective for this project was to lessen the accidents at intersections placed close to another intersection, where drivers often looked at the wrong signal.

There are three high-profile intersections where the louvers have been installed. The three intersections are: Memorial Road crosses Lake Hefner Parkway, May Avenue and Interstate 44, and Northwest Expressway and NW 63rd St.

The prime example of an intersection that needed louvers was the one where Memorial Road crosses Lake Hefner Parkway. When drivers had approached this intersection on Memorial and stopped at the first of two lights, they would often confuse it with the second signal and react to the wrong green light, which caused too many accidents. Louvers are installed so that the yellow or red light will be seen but the green light will appear blank until you drive close to it, so that the drivers do not confuse the two intersections’ signals.

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