A City’s Carbon Footprint

Signal Synchronization Makes a Big Difference

Here is one way a city can lower its carbon footprint, save money, increase efficiency in many of its operations, and decrease traffic congestion. It will also allow its car-driving citizens to lower their carbon footprints, save money, increase their efficiency, save time, and ease up on commuter stresses.

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Paul Wellman

It’s traffic signal timing. Think of one stoplight that has kept you sitting there for what seemed like a minute, no cars in sight, and multiply by a couple of hundred thousand, and you can begin to understand why the United States scored a D on its own national traffic signal report card. Idling cars - whether in traffic or not - burn fuel, increasing stresses on the infrastructure, the environment, and us.

Austin got an A. Their signal synchronization program resulted in 1.29 million gallons of gas saved in a year (3.5% less fuel used), close to a 10% REDUCTION IN AVERAGE TRAVEL TIME for its citizens, and 28% fewer stops per intersection! Portland’s drivers are saving closer to two million gallons per year, due to the city’s signal optimization work.

Perhaps the only thing better than a well-timed traffic signal (if one must drive) is no signal. Roundabouts are highly effective people movers, that is as long as the drivers’ brains are functioning.

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