CDOT Announces Winter Signal Timing Coordination for US 160/US 550

March 12, 2015 - Southwestern Colorado/CDOT Region 5 - Independent analysis shows traffic flow improvements on signalized corridor from SH 172, through the CFI, and north to 32nd Street.

DURANGO – The Colorado Department of Transportation announces the results of the second independent analysis of traffic flow along US 160/550 through town:  from SH 172 to 32nd Street. CDOT hires an independent traffic engineering consultant to conduct these analyses when signal timing changes are implemented.

An analysis was conducted this past September 2014 following the completion of work on the Continuous Flow Intersection (CFI), a project that made improvements to the intersections between Santa Rita Drive and 9th Street and changes to signal timing. That data, collected by transportation consultant Fehr & Peers, showed improvements in traffic flow between these four intersections. This current analysis shows even better results for the entire signalized corridor.

“In this recent analysis, Fehr & Peers compared the winter 2012 signal operations improvements we made between SH 172 and 32nd Street to the winter signal timing changes we just made since the CFI intersection was completed,” CDOT Region 5 Traffic & Safety Engineer Mike McVaugh said. “The data show significant improvements in traffic flow along the corridor—even with increased traffic—and a reduction in overall travel time through this 11-mile section.” 

Since the implementation of the new winter timing plan in November 2014, as well as the completion of the CFI intersection improvements (from Santa Rita to 9th Street), the system has:

  • Reduced the number of stops per vehicle by up to 32% during an average day, up to 39% during the AM peak hour, 33% in the noon peak hour, and 20% in the PM peak hour.

  • Reduced the delay per vehicle by up to 33% during an average day, up to 42% during the AM peak hour, 31% in the noon peak hour, and 33% in the PM peak hour.

  • Reduced emissions by up to 1.0% during an average day, up to 0.7% during the AM peak hour, 1% in the noon peak hour, and 1.6% in the PM peak hour.

  • Reduced fuel consumption per vehicle by up to 1.2% during an average day, up to 0.8% during the AM peak hour, 1.1% in the noon peak hour, and 1.7% in the PM peak hour.

  • Improved pedestrian safety and comfort by providing raised medians and shorter crossing distances at key intersections.

  • Improved bicyclist safety, comfort and mobility with interconnected bike lanes, green bike lanes, green bike boxes, signing and bicycle signal detection.   

Chart shows percent changes in motorists’ stops, delays, emissions and fuel consumption, comparing March 2012 data (before the CFI) to January 2015 data (after the CFI); during this time, average annual daily traffic increased by as much as 22%.

The new CFI intersection configuration at US 160/US 550 is a first for CDOT and only the second one in the state of Colorado (the first was constructed in 2010 by the City of Loveland). The CFI and improved signal timing along US 160/US 550 has reduced the winter driving delays from 32nd Street to SH 172 even with traffic volume increases of 22% during the AM peak, 9% at noon and 16% during the PM peak.

“Through the addition of the CFI and signal timing improvements we implemented, we are making the best possible use of the limited green time at traffic signals to move motorists, pedestrians and bicyclists as safely and efficiently as possible,” McVaugh said.   

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